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Total Articles: 21
Steve Benson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic. Benson is the grandson of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and LDS prophet Ezra Taft Benson.
John Lennon And His First Presidency Of Four Beat Out Jesus On The Charts
Friday, Jul 16, 2010, at 08:54 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
"On March 4, 1966, this quote of John's was printed in an interview by reporter (and friend of John's) Maureen Cleave in the 'London Evening Standard':

'Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.'

"He was, as she reported, reading extensively about religion at the time. It was a small part of the article. No one took notice of it in Britain.

"And then, five months later, on July 29, a teen magazine in the US of A (land of the free, especially religious freedom), Datebook, reprinted the quote out of context instead of submerged in an article, and used it as a part of a front cover story.

"Radio stations in the south banned Beatles music. There were rallies of boys and girls stomping on their records and bonfires of Beatles material. John recieved death threats, and the KKK protestsed a Beatle concert in Alabama (because, apparently, it seemed like the Christian thing to do).

"This statement, hardly noticed in the UK, was completely taken out of context and the bible belt of the hypocritical southern states was used to beat Lennon and The Beatles in a very unfair and very non-Christian way. John was not comparing the Beatles to Christ or god or religion. The quote as it appears here, IN CONTEXT, is just John being John and using things he knew about in a way he naturally spoke to a friend/reporter. The Jesus lovers, acting in their best Christ-like behaviour, threatened to kill John.

"Who says terrorism is limited to radical Islam?

"The Apology

"John: 'If I had said television is more popular than Jesus, I might have got away with it, but I just happened to be talking to a friend and I used the words "Beatles" as a remote thing, not as what I think - as Beatles, as those other Beatles like other people see us. I just said "they" are having more influence on kids and things than anything else, including Jesus. But I said it in that way which is the wrong way.'

"Reporter: 'Some teenagers have repeated your statements - "I like the Beatles more than Jesus Christ." What do you think about that?'

"John: 'Well, originally I pointed out that fact in reference to England. That we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it's true more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this.'

"Reporter: 'But are you prepared to apologize?'

"John (thinking that he had just apologized, because he did): 'I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologize if that will make you happy. I still don't know quite what I've done. I've tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry.'"

Expanding Your Mind: If You're An Ex-Mormon, You're A Liberal
Friday, Jul 23, 2010, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
. . . meaning you have a liberal mindset. Indeed, whether you realize it or not, your innate liberal bent most likely led you to leave Mormonism.

Let me explain what I mean through a definition of terms by turning to Richard B. Miller, director for the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, as well as professor of religious studies at Indiana University.

Although not writing about ex-Mormons specifically, Miller nonetheless helps you understand your liberal ex-Mormon mind as being one that underpins and guides your life through the application of progressive ethical principles which allow you to identify "enduring normative matters [of] human dignity . . . [and] religion"--matters which "address fundamental ethical responses regarding rights, respect, recognition and toleration."

The liberal ex-Mormon, like other liberals, is a person who is inclined and able to "assess customs, practices and policies that shape the direction of institutions and aspirations of public culture." As a liberal ex-Mormon aligned with other liberals, you engage in socially critiquing "the moral quality of society and the 'res publica.'"

The liberal mind (in your case, the liberal ex-Mormon mind) participates in what Miller broadly calls the "social activity" of "contributing to our shared reflections on public life" and in doing so engages in activity that "can be laudatory or aspirational, calling us to our higher natures."

So, if you're an ex-Mormon and therefore a social liberal, what does it mean, exactly, to be a "liberal"?

A liberal, writes Miller, is someone who adheres to "certain committments" rooted in "a basic philosophical view of moral anthropology and, in particular, the value of freedom and deliberation."

Miller quotes Will Kymlicka's defense of multiculturalism in describing what you--what we--as liberal ex-Mormons are like: "We lead our life from the inside, in accordance with our beliefs about what gives value to life."

Miller adds his own liberal perspective, noting that "we have an interest in questioning and revising those beliefs in light of whatever information we acquire."

To help you understand how as an ex-Mormon you are therefore a liberal, Miller's basic definition of liberalism is helpful:

"Liberalism is premised in part on our interest in freely developing and critically revising our desires and wants against a background of meaningful options. As John Rawls writes, individuals 'do not view themselves as inevitably tied to the pursuit of the particular conception of the good and its final ends which they espouse at any given time.' Rather, they are 'capable of revising and changing this conception.' Liberals thus assign value to autonomy or 'moral subjectivity,' understood as our capacity to self-critically evaluate our immediate, first-order desires in order to determine whether they are indeed desirable and worthy of our attachment."

As ex-Mormons, you determined that the Mormon Church did not provide you meaningful options for developing and revising your wants and desires in life--and therefore was not desirable and worthy of your attachment.

You, therefore, are a liberal.

Congratulations. :)

(from Richard B. Miller, "Terror, Religion and Liberal Thought," Part One: "The Problem of Religious Violence," uncorrected proof [New York: Columbia University Press, 2010], pp. 3-5)
In Another Thread, It Was Asked If GAs Compete With Each Other. From My Experience Re ETB
Tuesday, Aug 3, 2010, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
. . . the answer is one big "Hell, yes."

A couple of brief examples:

--ETB vs. Neal A. Maxwell

When Neal Maxwell was appointed Church commissioner of education, I personally observed my grandfather express concern to my parents about the choice. He solemnly complained that Maxwell was a "liberal" and couldn't understand why he had been picked--although he added that he would "follow the prophet" (which I believe was David O. McKay at the time and who died the year that Maxwell become Church education commissioner).

--ETB vs. Hugh B. Brown

Brown, a counselor in the First Presidency to McKay, was also considered a nettlesome "liberal" by my grandfather (whom he obliquely referred to as a "Judas"). When I expressed to my family my personal admiration for Brown's relative open-mindedness, I was firmly told that Brown had been "a thorn in your grandfather's side."

That is an understatement, to say the least.

For an extensive review of the havoc, conflict and controversy generated by ETB's radical and disruptive presence in the ranks of the General Authorities (where he managed to rankle not only Hugh B. Brown, but J. Reuben Clark, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney, Delbert L. Stapley, Mark E. Petersen, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball and the Quorum of the Twelve at large, together with at least three First Presidencies), see D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power," Chapter 3, "Ezra Taft Benson: A Study of Inter-Quorum Conflict" (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, in association with Smith Research Associates, 1997], pp. 66-115)

A final personal note: My grandfather on more than one occasion told me directly and personally that there was no more unified body than the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

He must have been joking, not telling the truth or suffering from a selective memory.

Given my grandfather's personal history of incessantly attempting to divide and conquer the ranks of the General Authorities in order to advance his extremist political agenda, nothing could be further from the truth.

Don't just take my word for it. Read Quinn.
The Unholy Trinity: Public School Segregation, Bans On Interracial Marriage, And Prop 8
Friday, Aug 6, 2010, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
"Representing two same-sex couples who want to marry, [Theodore B.] Olson invoked groundbreaking Supreme Court civil rights decisions, such as 'Brown v. Board of Education,' which forbade racial segregation in public schools, and 'Loving v. Virginia,' which threw out that state's law against interracial marriage.

"'Proposition 8 discriminates on the basis of sex the same as Virginia law discriminated on the basis of race,' Olson said."
(Robert Barnes,"California court hears closing arguments in same-sex marriage case," in "Washington Post," 17 June 2010, at:

Way to hit the nail on the head, Ted.
Prop 8 Judge To Anti-Gay LDS Losers: You Don't Even Have Legal Grounds To Appeal My Ruling
Friday, Aug 13, 2010, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Mormonism's anti-gay goof squad--who got their heads handed to them on a platter by Judge Vaughn Walker when he declared that their deceitfully-marketed Proposition 8 was a clear violation of constitutional due procees and equal protection for gays seeking the civil right to marry--should stop their uninformed and incessant whining about their lopsided loss and instead focus on remembering their very own 12th Article of Faith:

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

("The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," at:,...)

OK, Judge, kindly inform these muddle-headed, bigoted and dishonest Mormons what they are lawfully required to obey here:

" . . . The federal judge who ruled that California's ban against same-sex weddings is unconstitutional doubts anti-gay groups who support the law can appeal his decision in the case. And even if they have standing to file their appeal, the judge doubts they will succeed in overturning his ruling.

"Contained within his order to lift the stay on his ruling next week, which was released . . . Thursday, August 12 . . ., Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that he believes it is 'unlikely' that the opponents of same-sex marriage will have standing to appeal his ruling before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

"Last week Walker found that Proposition 8, the voter passed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California, violates the rights of gays and lesbians under the U.S. Constitution. He has stayed his decision until August 18 at 5 p.m., when Prop 8 will be lifted and the same-sex nuptials can begin unless the appellate court decides before then to reinstate the stay.

"In his ruling today on lifting the stay, Walker said there is nothing within the record from the trial he conducted this past January to suggest the Yes on 8 campaign will win on appeal.

"'Based on the trial record, which establishes that Proposition 8 violates plaintiffs' equal protection and due process rights, the court cannot conclude that proponents have shown a likelihood of success on appeal,' wrote Walker.

"Walker also questioned whether there would even be an appeal of his decision.

"Because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown both support Walker's decision to allow same-sex couples to wed, they have no plans to appeal the judge's ruling. As the Bay Area Reporter reported in today's issue, lawyers for the plaintiffs involved in the case, known as Perry vs. Schwarzenegger , and for the city and county of San Francisco have argued that only the state officeholders can appeal the ruling, not the backers of the anti-gay law.

"Walker appears to agree with that legal reasoning, as he wrote in his stay order that the Yes on 8 groups 'may have difficulty demonstrating' they have standing in the case.

"In order to be granted what is known as Article III standing, Walker notes that the ballot measure's proponents, known as, must show 'a concrete and particularized injury that is actual or imminent.'

"Walker concluded, 'nothing in the record shows proponents face the kind of injury required for Article III standing.'

"He also notes that while the Yes on 8 group campaigned for the constitutional amendment to be passed at the ballot box in 2008, it is not the party responsible for enforcing or implementing Prop 8. As the state court explained in its ruling on Prop 8, Walker notes that 'the regulation of marriage in California is committed to state officials.'

"Just as Mayor Gavin Newsom had no authority to marry LGBT couples in the winter of 2004, Walker said private citizens such as the Yes on 8 leaders have 'still less' authority to issue marriage licenses. And just because he allowed to defend Prop 8 at the trial level after state officials refused to do so, Walker said that does not automatically defer upon them standing to appeal.

"'Proponent's intervention in the district court does not provide them with standing to appeal,' Walker wrote in his stay order. 'The Supreme Court has expressed "grave doubts" whether initiative proponents have independent Article III standing to defend the constitutionality of the initiative."

"David Tsai, a local attorney who is co-chair of the LGBT legal group Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, said Walker is correct in concluding that the Prop 8 proponents cannot appeal the case.

"'Really, there is no standing for them to be in federal court,' said Tsai, who is with the law firm of Townsend and Townsend and Crew. 'I think it is an interesting question because what if they find the Prop 8 backers have no standing? It is an easy way for the 9th Circuit to get rid of the case entirely. Then that will be an issue they appeal to the Supreme Court but the Supreme Court might not take it up.'

" lead attorney Charles Cooper did not address the standing question in his motion urging Walker to keep the stay of his ruling in place. He has notified the 9th Circuit that he will appeal Walker's ruling and will likely address the standing issue at that time.

"But Walker doubts the appellate justices will even hear the matter if state officials don't appeal.

"'As it appears at least doubtful that proponents will be able to proceed with their appeal without a state defendant, it remains unclear whether the court of appeals will be able to reach the merits of proponents' appeal,' wrote Walker. 'In light of those concerns, proponents have little choice but to attempt to convince either the governor or the attorney general to file an appeal to ensure appellate jurisdiction. As regards the stay, however, the uncertainty surrounding proponent' standing weighs heavily against the likelihood of their success.'"

(Matthew S. Bajko, "Online Extra: Judge Doubts Anti-Gay Groups Can Appeal Prop 8," in "Bay Area Reporter," 12 August 2010, at:
For Anti-Gay Prop 8 Mormons: Joseph Smith Et Al On Same-Sex Bed Partners, Kissing, Cover-Ups And More
Friday, Aug 13, 2010, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
"[Was] Joseph Smith sealed to other men? [I] heard this as a rumor. Is it true? Are their any sources that mention it?"

Historian D. Michael Quinn provides answers to that question--and so much more--in his explosively-detailed book, "Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example" (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996, 477 pp.)

The devastating, documented detail that Quinn provides effectively knocks today's Latter-day Quaints off their high and hypocritical Mormon moralistic horse, as he lays out historically-devastating facts concerning LDS Church founder Joseph Smith's(as well as other early high-ranking Mormon leaders') attitudes and actions on what are for today's homophobic Mormons an exceedingly awful array of same-sex topics, including:

--Mormon Temple Sealings of Men to Other Men

--Claims of Authorization of Sealings of Mormon Men to Mormon Men

--Claims of Mormon Temple Same-Sex Eternal Sealings

--Joseph Smith's "Revelations" of Eternal Friendship Covenants Between Men

--Joseph Smith on Same Sex-Marriage

--Joseph Smith's Toleration of Homoeroticism in the Mormon Church's Highest Leadership Circles

--Accusations Against Joseph Smith of "Immoral Acts" with Other Men

--Joseph Smith and "Homosocial" Relations Between Mormon Men

--Joseph Smith and Loving Same-Sex Bed Partners

--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Kissing

--Joseph Smith's Intense Love of Young Men

Below are Quinn's findings in his own words--and better yet--in the words of Joseph Smith and Company:

--Mormon Temple Sealings of Men to Other Men--

"In 1954, the sociologist Kimball Young first suggested that Mormon marriage 'sealing' ceremonies (which began in 1843 and bind husband and wife for 'time and eternity') included same-sex marriage. For example, Brigham Young preached in 1862: 'I will here refer to a principle that has not bee named by me for years. With the introduction of the Priesthood upon the earth was also introduced the sealing ordinance.' Although modern readers would expect to hear next about eternal marriage, Young did not mention marriage or women. Instead, he said: 'By this power men will be sealed to men back to Adam.' In another sermon he preached that 'we can seal women to men [without a temple], but not men to men, without a Temple.'

"Such statements caused his sociologist grandson to observe, 'Here is evidence of deep, psychological Bruederschaft [brotherhood]. There are obviously latent homosexual features in this idea and its cultural aspect has many familiar parallels in other religions.' Kimball Young added that Mormonism 'had strong homosexual components' but acknowledged: 'Most Saints, including Brigham himself, would have been shocked by such an interpretation.' The grandson regarded homosexuality as unappealing as the Mormon practice of polygamy that was the topic of his book." (pp. 136-37)

--What Brigham Young Meant by the Phrase "Men Will Be Sealed to Men"--

". . . [S]ociologist [Kimball Young] misunderstood Brigham Young's statements about 'sealing men to men,' which referred to the nineteenth-century LDS practice of spiritual adoption. By this ordinance, a man (usually an apostle) became the spiritual father of the adopted man and of the adopted man's wife and children (if any). In social terms, this was an institutionalized form of mentor-protégé' relationships between Mormon men. In its early stages under Brigham Young's direction, this adoptive sealing of men to men also involved obligations of financial support. One of Brigham Young's adopted sons was John D. Lee. As was customary in the first adoption ceremonies of 1846, Lee temporarily added the surname of his adopted father to his own. In these respects, this early Mormon ordinance is very similar to the celibate same-sex marriages of sub-Saharan Africa today." (p. 137)

--Mormon Men-to-Men Sealings vs. "Spiritual Adoption" Sealings--

". . . Brigham Young also indicated that some pioneer Mormon men had special covenants with each other, independent of the adoption ordinance. 'No man had a right to make a covenant to bind men together,' Young said in 1848. He added that 'God only had that right and by his commandment to the persona holding the keys of revelation could any man legally covenant and all covenants otherwise were null and of no effect.'" (p. 140)

--Claims That Joseph Smith Authorized Sealings of Mormon Men to Mormon Men--

"A generation after [Brigham Young's grandson and sociologist] Kimball Young, Antonio A. Feliz wrote: 'I found that Joseph [Smith] began a practice of sealing men to men during the last two years of his life in Nauvoo.' Feliz concluded that Joseph Smith secretly provided for a same-sex ordinance of companionship or sealing, which Brigham Young later changed to the father-son adoption ordinance. His evidence involves the funeral service for missionary Lorenzo D. Barnes in which all note takers said Joseph Smith referred to an unidentified 'Lover' of Barnes, rather than to a wife. Feliz elaborated on this in a 1985 article in the newsletter of 'Affirmation,' the society of Mormon lesbians, gays, and bisexuals; in his 1988 autobiography 'Out of the Bishop's Closet;' in a 1992 story by the 'Salt Lake Tribune;' and in his 1999 paper at Salt Lake City's Stonewall Center, a community resource for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

"Barely two years after Barnes's death, Apostle Wilford Woodruff visited his English grave site and commented that Lorenzo's 'fidelity was stronger than death towards his Lover.' Woodruff added: 'I thought of his Lover, his Mother, his Father, his kindred and the Saints for they all loved him.' From this, Feliz concluded that 'we can only speculate on the identity of the person with whom he shared an intimate relationship in Nauvoo prior to his mission to England.'

"However, there are aspects of the Lorenzo Barnes case that undermine Feliz's assertions. Woodruff's diary also quoted from love poetry and love letters that Barnes wrote n January 1842 to Susan Conrad, 'his intended.' Sixteen years old when Barnes left her in Nauvoo for his English mission in 1841, Susan Conrad was 'the friend' and 'Lover' of whom Joseph Smith spoke in the 1843 funeral services for Barnes. She later married a man name Wilkinson and moved from Nauvoo to Utah, where Apostle Woodruff sometimes reminisced with her about Barnes. Even less known is that Barnes had returned to his hometown n Ohio while en route to his mission assignment. There in October 1841 another Mormon performed the civil marriage for Barnes and Amanda Wilson, who may have been one of his former students. Thus, Barnes was already married when he wrote the 1842 love poetry and letters to his sixteen-year-old 'Lover' Susan Conrad. Lorenzo D. Barnes may have been a polygamist at heart, but his experience had nothing to do with homoromantic attachments or a homomarital ceremony.

"Still, it is true that Joseph Smith's 1843 funeral sermon for Barnes never once mentioned husband-wife relationships. That was remarkable in a sermon on loving relationships in this life and in the Resurrection during which the prophet repeatedly spoke of 'brothers and friends,' fathers and sons, mothers, daughters, and sisters. Smith's silence concerning husbands and wives was deafening in this sermon about attachments of love. Feliz appropriately asked why. I do not agree that the answer involved same-sex ceremonies, but I do see this as the first Mormon expression of male bonding. George Q. Cannon forty years later called it 'greater than the love of a woman.'

"I know of no historical evidence that Mormonism's founding father ever said an officiator could perform a marriage-like ordinance for a same-sex couple. Nevertheless, I realize that some believing Mormons regard it as emotionally appealing or spiritually inspiring for there to be a priesthood ordinance to seal same-sex couples similar to Mormon's opposite-sex ordinance of marriage 'for time and all eternity.'" (pp. 138-39)

--Claims of Mormon Temple Same-Sex Eternal Sealings--

"Aside from the 1833 covenant of friendship in the School of the Prophets and Brigham Young's possible reference in 1848, I [Quinn] have no evidence that there were any same-sex covenants of eternal companionship among nineteenth-century Mormons. However, as previously indicated, nineteenth-century Mormon missionaries may have unknowingly baptized Aikane boys in Hawaii (or their equivalent in Tahiti) who had previously entered same-sex marriages. Also, tens of thousands of twentieth-century converts to the LDS Church in sub-Saharan Africa have come from areas in which celibate same-sex marriage ceremonies are common." (p. 140)

--Joseph Smith's "Revelations" of Eternal Friendship Covenants Between Men--

"[On 27 December 1832], Joseph Smith announced a revelation that included a covenant between men 'to be your friend . . . forever and ever. . . .

"[On 24 January 1833] [t]he male-only School of the Prophets commenced in accordance with [the] revelation on 27 December 1832." (p. 407)

--Joseph Smith on Same Sex-Marriage--

"Joseph Smith's published revelations contained no reference to same-sex marriage. . . .

"[However,] Joseph Smith . . . once referred figuratively to himself as married to a male friend. Beginning in 1840, twenty-nine-year-old Robert B. Thompson became the prophet's scribe and personal secretary. Their relationship was so close that Smith told his friend's wife: 'Sister Thompson, you must not feel bad towards me for keeping your husband away from you so much, for I am married to him.' She added that 'they truly love each other with fervent brotherly affection.' Concerning Thompson's death in 1841 Smith made this unusual explanation to his next secretary during a discussion of 'loose conduct' and sexual transgressions: 'He said [Robert B.] Thompson professed great friendship for him but he gave away to temptation and he had to die.'" (p. 136)

--Joseph Smith's Toleration of Homoeroticism in the Mormon Church's Highest Leadership Circles and Charges Against Smith of Committing "Immoral Acts" with Men--

"The first known instance of homoerotic behavior in the [Mormon Church] First Presidency involved John C. Bennett [who was] an assistant counselor . . . . They 27 July 1842 edition of the 'Wasp,' a church newspaper at Nauvoo, Illinois, claimed that Bennett had . . . engaged in sodomy.

"Second, it claimed that the Prophet Joseph Smith had tolerated Bennett's homoeroticism.

"Third, the church newspaper even printed one apostle's implication that Joseph Smith himself had also engaged in an 'immoral act' with a man.

"These are the actual words (written by Smith's brother William, an apostle): 'Gen. [Joseph] Smith was a great philanthropist [in the eyes of Bennett] as long as Bennett could practice adultery, fornication, and--we were going to say (Buggery,) without being exposed.' At that time the word 'buggery' was a slang word and legal term for 'sodomy,' or posterior [sexual relations] between men. Later statements by Brigham Young and Bennett himself indicate that this 1842 publication was not libeling Bennett.

"Previous actions and statements by Joseph Smith could also be construed as his toleration for Bennett's various sexual activities. On motion of John C. Bennett on 5 October 1840, the general conference (presided over by Smith) voted that no one could be judged guilty of a crime unless prove 'by two or three witnesses.' Such a burden of proof helped shield Bennett's sexual exploits. . . . This was Bennett's way of shielding his own sexual activities with both women and men."

"In January 1841, Smith also dictated a revelation about Bennett: 'his reward shall not fail, if he receive counsel; and for his love he shall be great, for he shall b e mine if he do this, saith the Lord' ('Doctrine and Covenants' 124:17)

"Later in 1841, the prophet further eroded the ability of anyone to investigate or punish Bennett's sexual conduct: 'If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you.' Then in words that must have warmed Bennett's heart, Smith continued his sermon by saying: 'If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours--for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sins is not sin.'

"It must have seemed to Bennett and others that the LDS president put those charitable words into action when he appointed John C. Bennett as assistant counselor to the First Presidency in April 1841. That was a month after one of the bishops of the church privately reported to Smith his investigation at Bennett's former residence: 'his wife left him under satisfactory evidence of his adulterous connections.' If Joseph Smith had not heard that his new counselor was practicing 'buggery,' he at least knew of Bennett's reputation for adultery.

"On the next page of the July 1842 'Wasp,' the church newspaper described Smith's reaction to Apostle Orson Pratt's vote against a resolution defending the prophet's chastity: 'Pres. Joseph Smith spoke in reply [on July 22]--Question to Elder Pratt, "Have you personally a knowledge of any immoral act in me toward the female sex, or in any other way?" Answer, by Elder Pratt, "Personally, toward the female sex, I have not."' Since this same issue of the 'Wasp' had already raised the topic of Bennett's 'buggery' and the prophet's alleged toleration of it, Smith's 'in any other way?' was an implicit challenge for Pratt to charge him with 'buggery' as well. Pratt declined to answer whether Joseph Smith had committed 'any immoral act' with someone other than a woman, but also declined to exonerate the prophet form such a charge. That indicates the depth of Pratt's disaffection, which resulted in his excommunication from the LDS Church within a month."

"Assistant [First Presidency] Counselor] John C. Bennett was 'disfellowshipped (denied church privileges) and later 'excommunicated' (removed from church membership). His homosexual activities were publicly revealed two months later."

"Two years later, Nauvoo's two LDS newspapers printed Apostle Brigham Young's reference to John C. Bennett's bisexual conduct: 'if he had let young men and women alone it would have been better for him.' One of Bennett's 'young men' was twenty-one-year-old Francis M. Higbee to whom Brigham's sermon specifically referred. . . .

"Joseph Smith forgave Higbee in 1842, and homoerotic activities were not among the specific charges for which the thirty-seven-year-old Bennett was dropped from office and excommunicated that year. . . . Mormonism's founding prophet also revised the common interpretation that God destroyed Sodom because its inhabitants preferred sex between men. According to Smith, God destroyed Sodom 'for rejecting the prophets.'" (pp. 266-68, 408-10, 412)

--Joseph Smith and "Homosocial" Relations Between Mormon Men--

"Throughout most of the nineteenth century, Mormon congregations were . . . segregated by gender. After he spoke to Nauvoo's citywide Sunday meeting in 1843, Mormon founder Joseph Smith criticized the fact that there were 'men among the women, and women among men' in the congregation. In 1859, Brigham Young proclaimed the Salt Lake Tabernacle's eating arrangement as the standard for all Mormon congregations: women sitting to the north (or right) of the center aisle, and men sitting to the south (or left), with children in the front benches. That seating pattern continued for decades in LDS congregations." (p. 67)

--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Bed Partners--

"In fact, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith enjoyed bedtime snuggling with male friends throughout his life. Early in 1826, the twenty-year-old bachelor board with the Knight family, whose eighteen-year-old son later wrote: 'Joseph and I worked together and slept together.' IN an 1843 sermon, Smith (then the husband of many wives) preached that 'two who were vary friends indeed should lie down upon the same bed at night locked in each other['s] embrace talking of their love and should awake in the morning together. They could immediately renew their conversation of love even while rising from their bed.'

"That was how Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded his prophet's words. The official 'History of the Church' still renders Smith's words this way: 'it is pleasing for friends to lie down together, locked in the arms of love, to sleep and wake in each other's embrace an renew their conversation.' The night before he was murdered by a mob in 1844, Smith shared a bed with thirty-two-year-old Dan Jones, 'and lay himself by my side in a close embrace.'"

"Smith's successor, Brigham Young, even dreamed of sleeping with non-Mormon men as a way of resolving conflict. IN 1858 the church historian wrote: 'Prest. Young said he dreamed last night, of seeing Gov. [Alfred] Cumming. He appeared exceedingly friendly, and said to Prest. Young we must be united, we must act in concert; and commenced undressing himself to go to bed with him.'" (p.87)

"[While] . . . for the vast majority of Americans, such same-sex sleeping arrangements were no erotic, . . . [n]evertheless . . . . true that the phrase 'sleeping with' had a sexual meaning for Mormons as early as the 1840s. . . . [D]ue to necessity [such as close quarters or lack of space] or personal preference, Mormon culture and LDS leaders both continued to encourage same-sex sleeping arrangements. . . .

" . . . Mormonism's founder . . . encouraged same-sex friends to sleep in 'the same bed at night locked in each other['s] embrace talking of their love' . . . ." (p. 89)

--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Kissing--

"Some Mormon leaders . . . had ardent dreams of same-sex kissing. For example, in 1847 Brigham Young dreamed that he met the deceased Joseph Smith and 'kissed him many times.' In 1896 stake president Charles O. Card recorded: 'I dreamed that president Woodruff and I met and embraced each other and Kissed each other in a very affectionate manner and I remarked he was the sweetest man I ever kissed. It thought in our embrace it was from the pure love of the Gospel.' Despite the homotactile dimension of this dream, Card was a polygamist who had no known homoerotic experiences." (p. 92)

--Joseph Smith's Intense Love of Young Men--

" . . . [D]espite his well-earned reputation of emotional intimacy with women, Joseph Smith also shared love of similar intensity with young men. In the autumn of 1838, Smith stayed two weeks with the family of John W. Hess, who later wrote: 'I was a boy then about fourteen years old. He [Joseph Smith] used to take me up on his knee and caress me as he would a little child.' As a result, Hess wrote: 'I became very much attached to him, and learned to love him more dearly than any other person I ever met, my father and mother no excepted.'

"Even more profound was the lifelong effect of a three-week visit Smith made to the Taylor home in 1842, beginning on the nineteenth birthday of William Taylor (a younger brother of LDS president John Taylor). 'It is impossible for me to express my feelings in regard to this period of my life,' William Taylor began. 'I have never know the same joy and satisfaction in the companionship of any other person, man or woman, that I felt with him [Joseph Smith], the man who had conversed with the Almighty.' That was an extraordinary statement in view of Taylor's marriage at age twenty-two and his four subsequent plural marriages. Decades later, Taylor explained: 'Sometimes in our return home in the evening after we had been tramping around in the woods, he [Joseph Smith] would call out: "Here, mother, come David and Jonathan."'

"In that way Mormonism's founding prophet referred to the most famous male relationship in the Bible. David said of his boyhood mentor Jonathan: 'thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women' (2 Sam. 1:26). Jonathan and David already had wives when the two you men 'kissed one another and wept one with another' (20:41). Consistent with Smith's David-and-Jonathan reference to young Taylor, a Mormon woman described the Mormon prophet's last words to forty-two-year-old George W. Rosecrans as Smith was traveling to his certain death in Carthage Jail in June 1844: 'If I never see you again, or if I never come back, remember that I love you.'

"For more than a thousand years, David and Jonathan have been revered as sexual lovers by Jews and Christians who valued homoeroticism. However, because David was a teenage polygamist and Jonathan fathered at least one child, most Bible readers and scholars regard David and Jonathan as platonic (or nonerotic) lovers. Likewise, m any regard the Bible's Song of Solomon as spiritual allegory rather than sexual imagery.

"First Presidency counselor George Q. Cannon paraphrased David's expression of male-male love during a sermon on Utah Pioneer Day in 1881: 'Men may never have beheld each other's faces and yet they will love one another, and it is a love that is greater than the love of woman.' Cannon, like other nineteenth-century Americans, then emphasized the platonic dimension of this male-male love: 'It exceeds any sexual love that can be conceived of, and it is this love that has bound the [Mormon] people together.'" (pp. 112-13)

Now, what was the Mormon Church saying about the "evil" of homosexuality? Perhaps they ought not to ask Joseph Smith.
Next Stop: Vegas, Baby! - Trying My Hand At Apostate Poker, With No Interference From The Holy Ghost
Monday, Aug 16, 2010, at 07:38 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Growing up, face cards (the gambling kind) were absolutely, positively verbotin in our family.It was all about, you know, avoiding the very appearnce of evil thing. As a spiritually healthy alternative, in our home whas a kid we often played card games such as "Crazy Eights," "Old Maid," "Authors" and "Rook" (sometimes as a Family Hom Evening activity, even) but we devoutly never touched the Devil's Workshop-manufactured gambling variety.

After all, LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, in his classic chronicle of Mormon gaseous gospel constipation, had denounced gambling as being "in opposition to the divine will," a "wicked, evil practice, destructive of the finer sensitivities of the soul" which "[n]o matter how cloaked or disguised, and no matter how professedly worthy an accompanyng money raising scheme may be, . . . is morally wrong and will be avoided by all who are saints in deed."


McConkie cross-references the nefarious sin of gambling to such other Mormon-avoided evils as "apostacy," "card playing," "lotteries" and "raffles," describing these unholy practices as "the playing or gaming for money or other stakes with a view to getting something for little or nothing; elements of luck and chance are always present--all of which, when taken together, form a system which is not of God."

Indeed, a deed not of God.

Specically, under "card playing," McConkie intoned:

"President Jospeh F.Smith has stated the position of the [Mormon] Church with reference to card playing in these words:

"'Card playing is an excessive pleasure; it is intoxicating and, therefore, in the nature of a vice. It is generally the companion of the cigaret[te] and the wine glass, and the latter lead to the poolroom and the gambling hall."

(*SIDENOTE on those dastardly poolrooms: My non-Benson maternal grandmother, Viola Wing--who was a long-time worker in the Canadian temple at Cardston--had a pool table in a basement room in her Raymond Alberta home. One day as a pre-teen youth, when I was traveling up north with my paternal grandparents Ezra Taft and Flora Benson, we stopped in for a surprise visit on Grandma Wing. She wasn't home at the time but the house was unlocked in that tiny Mormon community just over the U.S. border in Western Canada, so Ezra and Flora opened the screen door and walked in, looking for her and I followed. When it appeared that she wasn't home, my grandmother ventured down the steep, narrow staircase into the basement, where to her ruffled surprise she spotted a pool table. She called up to ETB--whom she referred to as "T"--and said, "Look, 'T,' they have one of THOSE." Oooooooooh.)

But I digress.

Back to the issue of gambling--and, specifically, to the unsaintly sin of card playing.

McConkie further quotes President Joseph F. Smith on what McConkie calls "the position of the Church with reference to card playing":

"'Few indulge frequently in card playing in whose lives it does not become a ruling passion. . . . A deck of cards in the hands of a faithful servant of God is a satire upon religion. . . . Those who thus indulge are not fit to administer in sacred ordinances. . . .

"'The bishops are charged with the responsibility for the evil, and it is their duty to see that it is abolished. . .. No man who is addicted to card playng should be called to act as a ward teacher; such men cannot be consistent advocates of that which they do not themselves practice.

"'The card table has been the scene of too many quarrels, the birthplace of too many hatreds, the occasion of too many murders to admit one word of justification for the lying, cheating spirit which it too often engenders in the hearts of its devotees. . . .

"'Card playing is a game of chance, and because it is a game of chance it has its tricks. It encourages tricks; its devotess measure their success at the table by their abilities through devious and dark ways to win. It creates a spirit of cunning and devices hidden and secret means, and cheating at cards is alomost synonymous with plahying at cards. "('Gospel Doctrine,' 5th ed., pp. 328-332).

McConkie then adds his own heavy-handed (but not with cards) restrictions:

"Members of the Church should not belong to bridge or other type of card clubs, and they should neither play cards nor have them in their homes. By cards is meant, of course, the spotted face cards used by gamblers. To the extent that Church members play cards they are out of harmony with their inspired leaders. Innocent non-gambling games played with other types of cards, except for the waste of time in many instances, are not objectionable." (Bruce R. McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine," Second Edition (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, pp. 111-12, 302)

Given my long absention from the egrgious evils of gambling due to my stoic and heroic Mormon upbringing, when I finally left the Mormon Church as an adult in my late thrities, I had no idea about how to play games with those wickedness-producing "spotted face cards used by gamblers."

I got my first chance with unChristlike games of chance came when a non-Mormon and fellow cartoonist friend of mine invited me up to an acquaintance's cabin with a bunch of other guys for a carf-playing getaway weekend. There was a lot of cigar smokin' and beer drinkin' around the table (none of which I engaged in at the time, given that I was still a relatively recent ex-Mormon) but I did join in as a babe in the woods on the non-prayin' card playin.'

So inexperienced was I in the Art of the Heinous Hand that my friend lent me a little paperback book on the ABCs of card playing (like the ones you can pick up at the supermarket check-out lane). As the deck was shuffled, dealt, and the hands played, I sat at the table, repeatedly and rapidly thumbing through its pages for help. Through the course of the hours that followed, I constantly referred to its pages in a desperate effort deal with and like the Devil as I entered a realm of the god-forsaken Underworld without my special undergarments and where I had undergone to go before.

Wonder of wonders, I ended up winning the pot: $25.00.

Fast forward several years to tonight. I was invited to join some guy friends of mine for a night of cards at one of their homes. Between when I had played cards with my cartoonist buddy and his pals years earlier and this evening, I had not indulged in the practice.

Still, I thought it would be fun to hang out with the guys so I showed up, where we all sat around a leather trimmed-out round cardtable, complete with built-in beverage holders. In sitting down, one of the guys in the group promptly broke the chair he was putting himself into (the host said not to worry, that his wife didn't need to know and I offered to lend him some Locktight construction glue if he needed it).

The host proceeded to ask me if I had brought any money. I was surprised by the question, since I hadn't given any thought to the prospect of playing for, like, money. I dug into my pocket and, as luck would have it (so to speak) found eight bucks, which I gave to "the house."

I then popped open my trusty can of Diet Dr. Pepper (one of three that I was to consume during the course of the evening), as my friends broke out various bottles of beer.

As the cards were being dealt, I noticed on examination I saw that they were more than just "face" cards. They were adorned with pictures of members of the opposite sex in limited attire. Oh, lordy! Maybe I should have left that instant but being an apostate, the Holy Ghost was nowhere to be found that Sunday evening to prompt me in the direction of the nearest exit. One of the guys at the table happened to be an active Mormon and he didn't leave, either. (The deck was provided by a member of the group who told me with a straight face, "My wife got them for me." Uh-huh).

Anyway, proceeding apace, I advised my buddies that I knew very little about card playing and therefore would appreciate their help. They readily obliged my request, so as the cards were shuffled and dealt, as the dice were placed in the center of the table and as the chips were passed out to the players (including me), I received quick instructions on how to play along.

We spent about three hours playing a variety of games, none of which I knew much, if anything, about. My friends helped me along, patiently explaining when the best times were to hold or to fold, to ante up or to bow out. When, during the course of play, I ran out of chips representing my initial $8.00 investment in the pot, I thought I was done, smiled and and leaned back--but my buddies insisted that I stay in and continue to play, sliding me some of their own chips, which I gratefully accepted. (I vowed to keep track of how much they were fronting me on chips so that I could pay them back later but they laughed and told me not to worry about it. The main thing, they told me, was to just have fun. Like one of them told me, "It depends on who you're playing with").

So, I got into the game and wonder of wonders, I again won the pot: this time, $35.00.

Contrary to McConkie's dire warnings, no knife fights broke out during the course of the evening; feelings of hate got the best of no one, no one was murdered in a brawl; no lying or cheating was observed (at least none that I could pick up on; hell, I even was allowed to show my hand to my friends when I had a question on how to play my cards); and we all left at the end of the evening in good spirits and as good friends with all of our body parts still attached to the place they were when we started.

We have plans to do it again next month--and this time I even offered my place.
A Blessing From The Bigots: Black Mormon-Owned Slaves In Heaven--Only The Best For The "Cursed"
Monday, Aug 16, 2010, at 08:46 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
One such Mormon-"owned" slave was Jane Elizabeth Manning James--otherwise known among her Mormon friends and White overseers as "Aunt Jane."

Aunt Jane was a faithful Black Mormon convert who worked in the household of Joseph and Emma Smith. After years of faithful belief and devotion to clean-up duty, she had the audacity to repeatedly petition the leaders of the Mormon Church to be sealed via temple endowment to her husband, but was denied her request by the Quorum of the Twelve.

Instead, she was made to settle for her White "owner," Joseph Smith--as his slave for time and all eternity:

"The Territory of Utah gave up the practice of slavery along with the slave-holding states; however, the fact that they countenanced it when it was being practiced shows how insensitive they were to the feelings of black people. Even after the slaves were set free the Mormons continued to talk against blacks. In the year 1884, Angus M. Cannon said that 'a colored man . . . is not capable of receiving the Priesthood, and can never reach the highest Celestial glory of the Kingdom of God.' ('The Salt Lake Tribune,' October 5, 1884)

"The idea that blacks were inferior and should only be servants to the whites persisted in Mormon theology. In fact, Mormon leaders seemed to feel that blacks would still be servants in heaven. On August 26, 1908, President Joseph F. Smith related that a black woman was sealed as a servant to Joseph Smith:

"'The same efforts he said had been made by Aunt Jane to receive her endowments and be sealed to her husband and have her children sealed to their parents and her appeal was made to all the Presidents from President Young down to the present First Presidency. But President Cannon conceived the idea that, under the circumstances, it would be proper to permit her to go to the temple to be adopted to the Prophet Joseph Smith as his servant and this was done. This seemed to ease her mind for a little while but did not satisfy her, and she still pleaded for her endowments.' ('Excerpts From The Weekly Council Meetings Of The Quorum Of The Twelve Apostles,' as printed in 'Mormonism-Shadow or Reality?,' p. 584).

"The idea that a black is only worthy of the position of a servant has deep roots in Mormon theology. Mark E. Petersen, . . . [former] Apostle in the church, once said that if a 'Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory.' ('Race Problems-As They Affect The Church,' a speech delivered at Brigham Young University, August 27, 1954)."

(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Changing the Anti-Black Doctrine," Chapter 10, Part 1, in "The Changing World of Mormonism," Utah Lighthouse Ministry, at:

Jane Elizabeth Manning James (1813-1908)-- even in faith, a victim of Mormon bigotry, RIP:

"Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Wilton, Connecticut, one of five children of Isaac and Phyllis Manning, a free black family. Although Jane was a member of the local Presbyterian Church, she remained spiritually unfulfilled until 1842 when she heard the message of a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . .

"Soon afterwards she joined the Mormon Church. One year following her conversion, Jane Elizabeth and several family members who had also converted decided to move to Nauvoo, Illinois, the headquarters of the Mormon Church. After traveling by boat to Buffalo, New York, the African American Mormons, unable to pay additional fares, began an eight-hundred-mile journey by foot to Nauvoo. In Nauvoo, Jane lived and worked in the home of Joseph Smith, Jr. the founder of the LDS Church and his wife, Emma.

"Following the 1844 murder of Joseph Smith, Jr. and his brother Hyrum in Carthage, Illinois, Mormon leaders under Brigham Young decided to abandon Nauvoo and look for a safe haven in the West away from forces hostile to the LDS Church.

"In the fall of 1847, Jane, her husband Isaac James whom she married in 1841, and two sons traveled across the plains to the new home of the LDS Church in the Salt Lake Valley. They were the first free black pioneers in the Mormon settlement and Jane would spend the remaining fifty-one years of her life in Utah. They shared the hardships of their fellow Mormons and engaged in the spirit of mutual aid and cooperation that characterized LDS pioneer life.

"By the 1880s Jane became increasingly concerned about her place in the afterlife. Well aware of the LDS Church's proscriptions that prohibited blacks from full participation in the rituals that were prerequisite to being eligible for a place in the celestial kingdom, she nonetheless argued for an exemption because of her faith.

"'Is there no blessing for me?' she asked Church leaders for more than a decade. Those leaders refused her requests. They attempted to pacify her by authorizing her limited participation in LDS rituals.

"Through it all, Jane Manning James remained a devout Mormon and is generally recognized in LDS history for her unwavering faith. Jane Manning James died in Salt Lake City in 1908.

"A special monument to her is located in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, close to her gravesite, to commemorate her life and faith."

(Ronald G. Coleman, "'Is There No Blessing for Me?': Jane Elizabeth Manning James, A Mormon African American Woman," in Quintard Taylor and Shirley Ann Moore Wilson, eds., "African American Women Confront the West," 1600-2000 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 2003, at:

Ahhhhh, how sweetly described--and deceptively presented.

That "limited participation in LDS rituals," as it is euphemistically described above, is more fully laid out on pp. 152-157 of Coleman's biography of "Aunt Jane." There it is painfully detailed how, despite her faithfulness--and only because of her so-called "cursed" race--she was relentlessly denied her personal plea for access to the Mormon temple for her own family sealing endowment.

The First Presidency also rejected her request to be adopted, via temple sealing, into the family of Joseph and Emma Smith, in whose home she faithfully worked as a servant.

The First Presidency eventually, out of the kindness of their white-and-delightsome hearts, did permit her to be eternally sealed to Joseph Smith as his servant.

(Tracking note: Google search "Ronald G. Coleman Manning." Up will come "African American Women Confront the West, 1600-2000 -Google Books Result." Click on that and Coleman's article will appear).

More on the patronizing treatment she received from the Mormon Church:

" . . . [H]ave you wondered why Jane walked to Nauvoo? It was because white Mormons would not allow her to ride with them or assist her in paying for passage. And once she arrived in Nauvoo the Beautiful, that 'Zion on the Mississippi,' she was either rebuffed or ignored by her fellow Saints, until finally someone pointed out Joseph Smith's home to her.

"Once she finally did meet Smith, he made Jane his house servant, and when Smith was murdered in 1844, Brigham Young then took in Jane James as his servant as well. Despite her faithful service to the church and its wealthy presidents, she lived most of her life in abject poverty.

"She arrived in the new Zion of Utah among the first of the Saints in September 1847, the first free black woman in the territory, only to find that slavery was already being practiced there. Mormon Apostle Charles C. Rich owned slaves in Utah, which must have been a great trial of her faith. The only Western State or Territory to practice slavery was Utah.

"She wished to be 'sealed' to her loved ones for all eternity just like the white-skinned members of the congregation were allowed to be. For all of her sacrifice, the highest eternal blessing the Mormon church could offer Joseph Smith's former house servant was to 'seal' her to Joseph Smith as his servant forever.

"The words recited at this ceremony were that she was 'to be attached as a Servitor for eternity to the prophet Joseph Smith and in this capacity be connected with his family and be obedient to him in all things in the Lord as a faithful Servitor.'

"In essence, an eternal slave, bound to service a white master for eternity."

(For more on this final above account, along with a photograph of Jane Manning, see: "Nauvoo Pageant 2007: Just Who is Jane Manning?," in "Mormon Home Evening: Official Blog of Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach," 17 July 2007, at:

With The "Deseret News" About To Be Hit With Crippling Staff Cuts, Some Personal Reminiscences
Monday, Aug 16, 2010, at 09:32 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
First, to put things in larger context, some recent observations from "Salt Lake Tribune" blogger Glen Warchol:

"The DNews will no longer publish daily, but three days or so a week (it would, of course, continue to exist online with 'Mormon Times')."

Warchol describes the "Deseret News's" continuing constriction as evidence of its "recent de-evolution . . . from the 'Christian Science Monitor of the West' to a LDS faith-promoting publication with a purged political staff."

"Newspapers, including 'The Tribune,'" he writes, "have struggled the last few years with declining revenues following the online information revolution, but the DNews also has been buffeted by pressures to publish news with a positive slant and to advance the LDS religion. Such goals are, of course, an anathema to good journalism."

(Glen Warchol, "Bad news for DNews," under "Salt Lake Crawler," in "Salt Lake Tribune," at:

From my own experience and that of fellow doodlers, I can tell you that trying to do editorial cartoons for the Mormon-owned "Deseret News" was, well, trying.

For example, Calvin Grondahl--a returned Mormon missionary (New Zealand) and premiere editorial cartoonist for BYU's 'Daily Universe' student newspaper in the 1970s--was hired away by the 'Deseret News' without graduating from college. (His most famous cartoon done on Provo's seminarian school grounds showed a battered and bruised BYU student under a pile of rocks, muttering to a campus policeman, "All I said was, 'He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone'").

Cal lasted for only a few years at the "Deseret News," where he finally quit in frustration and moved north to work with more artistic freedom at the "Ogden Standard Examiner."

Cal bolted the "Deseret News" because its publisher at the time, Wendell Ashton, informed Cal that he had to choose between competing masters: either working for the "Deseret News" or doing cartoons that were being picked up by "Sunstone" magazine. (Many more of Cal's free-lance cartoons were also eventually published as collections by Signature Books).

Cal was, in fact, found guilty of having made available to a humor-starved Mormon public some hilariously irreverent cartoon anthologies--such as "Freeway to Perfection" and "Faith Promoting Rumors"--cartoons (as I personally witnessed) that at least one General Authority actually secretly enjoyed.

Jack Goaslind (a personal Benson family friend and eventual member of the Quorum of the Seventy) had visited my home in Arizona some years ago during a stake-stumping tour. After conference, I invited him over for lunch, where he sat on the living room couch and nearly laughed his head off, crowing hysterically as he eagerly read through Cal's books.

Apparently, this appreciation for the goofy and inherently spoofy side of Mormonism was not shared by the "Deseret News's" publisher.

Cal recounted to me how he saw the writing on the wall, knew he couldn't last and took his doodling pad to greener pastures.

According to my sources inside the cartooning profession, another cartoonist who followed Cal at the "Deseret News" reportedly got himself in hot water with the Mormon Church for a satirical birthday card cartoon he drew of Thomas S. Monson that included Jesus in it. The cartoon, mind you, was never published in the LDS Church-owned paper; rather, it was privately given to an unappreciative Monson, who was said to have been infuriated by it. The offending cartoonist eventually vanished from the pages of Elohim's newspaper.

My grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, initially encouraged me to try for the job at the "Deseret News" and even, he said, put in a good word for me there. However, by then I had begun doodling cartoons down in Phoenix for the "Arizona Republic" (where he had no personal input on me getting the job; rather, I was contacted by the "Arizona Republic" editorial page editor about filling the post of their retiring cartoonist of some 50 years, after a research librarian at the Phoenix-based newspaper had passed on to the editor some cartoons I had done while working as a 26-year-old staffer for a Capitol Hill Senate committee in Washington D.C.).

My grandfather soon enough found some of my "Arizona Republic"-produced cartoons to be personally troubling and disturbingly out-of-line with his fiery brand of conservative thinking, both religiously and politically--and told me so (particularly one I did spoofing the Mormon Church's "Salamander Letter" scandal, as well as another critical of a Reagan administration Cabinet member).

On the other hand, my grandfather also derided the "Deseret News," telling me it was too liberal, if you can believe that.

In the meantime, "Deseret News" editor Bill Smart phoned me out of the blue one day at my Phoenix office and asked me if I would like to come to work for the Mormon-owned press in Salt Lake City.

I was, shall we say, not inclined to accept the offer.

Smart told me that he couldn't give me as much money as I was making in Arizona or as much freedom, but did say that a benefit of moving to Salt Lake and working there would be that I'd be closer to my family's home base of operations (Strike three, I thought).

I informed my grandfather that I had turned down the job offer from the "Deseret News," to which he solemnly replied that it was a decision good for both me--and him.

For several years, my syndicated editorial cartoons were nonetheless published in the "Deseret News," for which I would be ungrateful if I did not stand this day and give thanks. :)

Several months ago, however, my drawings finally disappeared from its pages--which was too bad, I guess, since my dad used to send me clipped-out copies of them.

Eventually, I left the Mormon Church in a rather outspoken and public fashion--and was thereafter removed from the pages of the "Daily Universe," which refused to publish any more of my syndicated work, to which it had subscribed for a number of years.

The straw that ostensibly broke the "Daily Universe's" back was a cartoon I did criticizing sexual harassment of female military recruits by U.S. Army drill instructors. In explaining its decision to bid me a not-so-fond adieu, a spokesman for the "Daily Universe" said my cartoons were no longer suitable for consumption by the BYU studentbody. I replied that if the "Universe" expected me to put a smiley face on sexual harassment, they had the wrong cartoonist.

The "Daily Universe's" judgment to jettison my cartoons was rendered, coincidentally enough, soon after a BYU student--Joseph Dallin--had written a letter to the editor of the Lord's university student newspaper (which was published), protesting the use of tithing funds to give print space to the cartoons of a known apostate. (Some years later, Dallin--now a former student--wrote me a personal note to apologize and to acknowledge that he, too, was now a former Mormon. He said that his demand I be removed from the pages of BYU's house organ was a futile attempt on his part to convince himself that he was a stalwart, testimony-holding believer when, in fact, his faith was actually faltering).

Being an editorial "harpoonist" behind the Zion Curtain can be a tricky business.

Indeed, as unfolding developments at the "Deseret News" are indicating, being a Mormon-owned rah-rah "newspaper" behind the Zion Curtain can be a tricky business, too. :)
Racism Is Alive, Well And Ugly - And Mormonism's Doctrinal History On Race Is A Sad Reminder Of That Fact
Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010, at 08:42 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
I was recently at a fast-food restaurant where I struck up a conversation with an African-American server who told me she had been working there for five years.

She mentioned that she was going to an in-state university, where she was enrolled in pre-med to become a hematologist, focusing on finding a cure for sickle cell anemia (a genetic disease that disproportionately affects African-Americans).

She said that her sister had died of the disease at age 14 during an attempted bone marrow transplant and that her brother was currently afflicted by it, describing how it caused constant pain in his own bones.

I asked her how long she thought it would be before a cure was discovered. She replied that, in her opinion, one would come in about five years. She bemoaned the fact that, in her view, insufficient research was being done in certain areas that have been showing particular promise.

As we were talking, I thought of a recent manifestation of an anti-Black mentality which I had directly witnessed. Without referring directly to it, I nonetheless asked the young woman, "Do you think there is a cure for stupid White people?"

She shook her head, smiled and gently said, "No."

The reason I asked that question was because I recently was talking with a conservative White guy about the rejuvenation of the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill and noted that a short time ago the First Family had vacationed to the region, where they went swimming in its coastal waters.

He replied, "They came up looking like they were covered with tar."

My reaction: Stunned silence.

I guess, though, that I shouldn't have been surprised. Racism--i.e., what has been christened America's "original sin"--infects this country to its deepest marrow. What I heard from that White guy reminded me of the deeply-embedded racist doctrines of the Mormon Church, as taught from its earliest days.

LDS General Authority B. H. Roberts included the following quotation from William Benjamin Smith's "The Color Line" in Roberts' LDS Church-approved priesthood manual, "First Year Book in the Seventy's Course in Theology" (1931, pp. 231-33):

"If we sit with [N]egroes at our tables, if we entertain them as our guests and social equals, if we disregard the color line in all other relations, is it possible to maintain it fixedly in the sexual relation, in the marriage of our sons and daughters, in the PROPAGATION OF OUR SPECIES? Unquestionably, No!

" . . . [O]nce the middle wall of social partition [is] broken down, the mingling of tides of life would begin instantly and proceed steadily. . . . As a race, the Southern CAUCASIAN WOULD BE IRREVERSIBLY DOOMED. For no possible check could be given to this process once established. . . .

"The moment the bar of ABSOLUTE SEPARATION is thrown down in the south, that moment the bloom of her spirit is BLIGHTED FOREVER, the promise of her destiny is annulled, the proud fabric of her future slips into dust and ashes. No other conceivable disaster that might befall the south could, for an instant, compare with such miscegenation within her borders. Flood and fire, fever and famine and the sword - even ignorance, indolence, and carpet-baggery--she may endure and conquer WHILE HER BLOOD REMAINS PURE; but once TAINT THE WELL-SPRING OF HER LIFE, AND ALL IS LOST--EVEN HONOR ITSELF."

("Blacks and the Priesthood in the Mormon Church," in "The Truth: A Christian Perspective On Mormonism--Mormon White Supremacy," Vol. 2, No. 6, June 1997, at: , emphasis added)

What is sick with America is also sick with its homegrown religion of Mormonism.
Were Behind The Mormon Anti-Black Doctrine, The Devil Invented Rock 'n Roll And Latter-Day Quaints Wonder Why They Aren't Taken Seriously?: Ezra Taft Benson, W. Cleon Skousen And The "Modern"-Day Mad Hatter Mormon Mentality
Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010, at 08:27 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Commies Were Behind the Mormon Anti-Black Doctrine, the Devil Invented Rock 'n Roll and Latter-day Quaints Wonder Why They Aren't Taken Seriously?: Ezra Taft Benson, W. Cleon Skousen and the "Modern"-day Mad Hatter Mormon Mentality . . .

Recent posts on this board about my grandfather Ezra Taft Benson's vehement opposition to what he regarded as the "satanic" roots of rock 'n roll brought to mind the kooky connection between ETB's mindset on the subject (as well as on others) and the viewpoints of my grandfather's co-religionist, ardent supporter and fellow traveler in the ranks of the radical-right fringe: W. Cleon Skousen.

--Close Encounters of the Sue-able Kind

I knew Cleon Skousen, having become personally acquainted with him through his association with my grandfather and his affinity for ETB's ideas. Skousen's extremist, anti-Communist Mormon mind was as disheveled as the headquarters of his "Freemen Institute," which I visited on one occasion and found to be a maze of disorganization, chaos and floor-to-ceiling messiness.

Several years ago, when Skousen was running his" National Center for Constitutional Studies" (successor to his Freemen Institute), he reprinted one of my editorial cartoons in his organization's magazine.

So far, so good, given that he was a paying client and back then I was still a tithe-paying conservative Mormon. The cartoon in question had to do with secular humanist book burnings of the Bible and other holy texts. (Hey, cut me some slack. I was ETB's oldest grandchild wind-up toy soldier before I saw the light and commenced my flight).

But this time Cleon went too far.

His people took the cartoon and without permission changed its labels, removing tag lines originally on the cartoon characters and replacing them with ones describing Skousen's outfit--so that in the end the cartoon was completely adulterated to show Skousen's group being hounded and persecuted by its godless enemies.

I was so ticked off at the copyright violation that I contacted a non-LDS company lawyer and threatened to sue. Skousen called me personally and in a hurt voice said he couldn't imagine why I would want to do something like that to such a great cause. He also said they didn't have the money to pay me if I took him to court. Hmmmmm.

I settled for a printed apology in the magazine's next issue, although it was a pretty lame one. (In retrospect, I should have moved forward with the suit, which could have brought me a tidy return after attorney fees--and if Crazy Cleon was actually telling the truth for once, maybe have even put him out of business. (Sorry for my dereliction of duty).

--Different Takes on a Mormon Flake

Devoted Mormon apologists of Skousen include the likes of his nephew Mark Skousen--a financial economist and author who recently wrote a glowing tribute to his uncle entitled, "Visionary Author Helped People See the Truth of Nation's Origin" ("The Arizona Republic," 10 September 2010).

Mark Skousen's extolling article is cited below, followed by a counterpoint response by "Arizona Republic" writer Gary Nelson, both which appeared in the same newspaper edition.

Summing up the upcoming examination of Cleon Skousen is my own assessment of the man, based on sources, analysis, documents and experiences which paint him as, well, a Latter-day Loon.

First, the view of Cleon Skousen from his nephew Mark.

By way of background, according to noted historian D. Michael Quinn, in the 1960s Mark Skousen was a student attending BYU who along with several other politically conservative students was recruited as a "prospective spy" to covertly monitor and then report back in complete secrecy to university president Ernest L. Wilkinson on the teaching activities of faculty members on campus believed to harbor "liberal"/"pro-Communist" political or social views.

Students being approached to serve as agents in this "spy ring" included members of the Provo chapter of the John Birch Society and the BYU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). Mark Skousen, writes Quinn, was then-president of BYU's student chapter of YAF.

(D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power" (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997], pp. 93-94)

Authors Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, in their book "Brigham Young University: House of Faith," further report that this recruitment meeting took place on 26 April 1966 in Room 370 of BYU's Wilkinson Center, where Mark Skousen, along with seven other "sympathetic" students, "volunteered" to "monitor" the classes of eight targeted BYU faculty members for evidence of espousing "communist or socialist ideas."

(Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, "Brigham Young University: House of Faith" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1985], pp. 207-09)

Invoking Biblical verse, Mark Skousen compares his uncle Cleon to a giant among men:

"'There were giants in the Earth in those days . . . mighty men who were of old, men of renown.' --Genesis 6:4

"I am delighted to . . . to pay tribute to my uncle, W. Cleon Skousen, whose book 'The 5000 Year Leap' has gained notoriety by the endorsement of Glenn Beck.

"Glenn told me that, even though he never met the man (who died in January 2006 at the age of 93), Cleon's book changed his life and gave him hope for America. . . .

--"Dismissed By Press As Extremist

"The curmudgeons and supposedly objective reporters hope to keep the public from reading Cleon Skousen's books by dismissing him as an extreme right-winger. But if you read the introductory chapter of 'Leap,' you discover that he rejects both the extreme right wing (anarchy) and extreme left wing (tyranny) of the American political spectrum.

"He contends that the Founders of our nation placed the Constitution in the 'balanced center.' That was the genius of the Founders, finding the golden mean of state power, neither too much nor too little government.

"The book is meant to be a layman's introduction to the brilliance of the Constitution. Millions of copies of the Constitution have been given out to Americans by the Cato Institute and other organizations, but how many really understand it?

"That's where Cleon Skousen comes in. He took it upon himself to establish the National Center for Constitutional Studies in the 1970s, offering week-long courses and giving lectures around the country on the Constitution. He considered it his patriotic duty and his calling in life.

"Cleon wrote two books on the subject. 'The Making of America' is a textbook, and one that I prefer. It dissects every article and section of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the amendments.

"'The 5000 Year Leap' is more for the general masses, to inspire the public by highlighting 28 "great ideas" that inspired "the Founding Fathers' phenomenal success formula." These 28 ideas are essential but not especially controversial or extreme: the need to protect property rights, defend the borders, encourage strong local government, avoid too much debt, encourage free enterprise and "elect virtuous leaders."

"Cleon emphasizes several principles in the Constitution, such as the separation of powers, and checks and balances, but he remains surprisingly silent on the welfare or commerce clauses.

"'Leap' introduces the reader to a great many political philosophers, including Cicero, Montesquieu, Blackstone, Locke, Adam Smith, Bastiat, and Tocqueville, and quotes generously from Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Franklin.

"He seeks to counter the notion that Franklin was a profligate womanizer and emphasizes that even in his infamous 'Advice to a Young Man in Seeking a Mistress,' Franklin tries to dissuade the young man from taking a mistress and encourages him to marry, the 'proper remedy' for the 'hard-to-govern' passions.

--"A Beloved Uncle and Teacher

"I got to know my dear uncle well over the years. I took his courses on the Constitution, attended many of his talks on religion and politics, and went on one of his popular tours to Israel. I envied his ability to speak and attract a large following, especially in the West.

"In my 35 years of lecturing at investment conferences, the most frequent question I heard is: 'How are you related to Cleon Skousen?' Then, these strangers would tell me how he had changed their lives for the better, as he did for Glenn Beck.

"My uncle had a sweet spot in his heart for Arizona, and for several years, supporters provided him and his wife, Jewel, an apartment in Mesa during the winter months to do his research, give lectures, meet with friends and relax. They were overwhelmed by Arizona's hospitality.

"I'm not saying Cleon Skousen was without fault. As a former FBI agent, he may have exaggerated his relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, although it was never so egregious as his nitpicking critics claim. During the long battle against the 'evil empire' and communist threat, Hoover's friendship with Cleon was never in jeopardy, as his personal correspondence demonstrates. Cleon's bestseller 'The Naked Communist' was vindicated when the Berlin Wall and the Soviet system collapsed.

"Yes, we had our differences, and I have reservations about his conspiracy theories and defense of the John Birch Society, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Joe McCarthy. (He had a weakness for defending the underdog.)

"But I love his Bible commentaries, especially his famous 'thousand year' books, and his work on the Constitution, for which he will be remembered. He was a devoted churchman and family man who loved his wife and eight children. His life was so full and diverse that he wanted to call his memoirs 'Six Careers' - as G-man (FBI), professor (Brigham Young University), police chief (Salt Lake City), tour director (Israel), president of a non-profit (NCCS), and author (more than 35 books).

--"Wise Ben Franklin's Advice

"When my own father died when I was only 16, Cleon became like a dad to me and my siblings. He spent time with my family and gave me good advice as I grew up. He so inspired me to write 'The Making of Modern Economics' that I dedicated the book to him. I considered it an honor to be one of his pallbearers at his funeral, which was attended by thousands.

"These words by Benjamin Franklin best sum up my uncle and his critics: 'The best men have always had their share of envy and malice of the foolish and wicked, and a man has therefore some reason to be ashamed of himself when he meets with none of it. My good friend Rev. Whitefield once said, "When I am on the road and see boys in a field pelting a tree, though I am too far off to know what tree it is, I conclude it has fruit on it."'

"My uncle stands tall, and his works are still bearing fruit."

Now, a direct, resounding and repudiating response to the above pro-Mo propaganda by writer Gary Nelson, entitled "Distorted Book is Bad History":

"If you were under the impression that the United States is a secular, democratic republic founded on the great ideas of the Enlightenment, think again.

"We owe our form of government not to the rebellious Founding Fathers but to ancient Israel, whose government provided an all-but-perfect model for the U.S. Constitution.

"Thus runs a main theme of a 29-year-old, but newly popular, book called 'The 5000 Year Leap.'

"The book, [has been] saved from obscurity by talk-show megastar Glenn Beck and heralded by the likes of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney . . . .

"It calls the American Revolution a miracle of God and enumerates 28 'great ideas that changed the world' and could return America to the pristine and virtuous state in which it was born--if only they were followed.

"You can get a copy at your public library, but you might have to wait: As of this writing, all seven in Mesa [Arizona's] system were checked out, and in Phoenix, only 12 of the system's 30 copies were available.

--"A Fervent Conservative Following

"The book is among the works of prolific author W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006), who developed a fervent following among certain classes of conservatives during his decades as a writer and lecturer. The late Arizona [and impeached/ousted Mormon] Gov. Evan Mecham counted Skousen as his political mentor and told this newspaper in 1986: 'I would enjoy being known as a protege of Cleon Skousen. I have all of his books, suitably autographed. I'm a great fan of his, and we're very dear friends.'

"Not everyone, however, falls into the 'great fan' category.

"Ernie Lazar, an independent researcher in Palm Springs, Calif., has been exploring America's extreme right wing for decades. Skousen, a fervent anti-communist and early champion of the John Birch Society, crossed his radar.

"Lazar dug up a treasure trove of Skousen information in the form of 1,928 pages of FBI documents detailing Skousen's service with the agency from 1935 to '51 and his career as an anti-communist thereafter.

"A recurring theme in these files is that Skousen was wont to exaggerate his FBI credentials, especially when it came to his relationship with J. Edgar Hoover and his expertise on communism. The FBI also found fault with the conclusions Skousen drew from his research. . . .

--"Looking Back to Ancient Israel

"Skousen's primary premise is that the Constitution owes its basic structure to the governing principles of ancient Israel. The United States must therefore be regarded as a direct creation of God, as the Bible says Israel was. Subservience to the national aims and subjection to what Skousen calls "the religion of America" thus become divinely ordained individual duties.

"Where does Skousen find biblical support for such republican features as the popular election of leaders and representatives, the three distinct branches of government, the separation of powers? To quote him:

"'Leaders were elected and new laws were approved by the common consent of the people." (See 2 Samuel 2:4, 1 Chronicles 29:22; for the rejection of a leader, see 2 Chronicles 10:16; for the approval of new laws, see Exodus 19:8).'

"Let's see, indeed.

"In the wording of the 'New Revised Standard Version,' 2 Samuel 2:4 reports, 'Then the people of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.'

"But that hardly amounted to the election of a king. Scripture reports that it was God, not the people, who had chosen David, a fact made plain in the early portions of 1 Samuel 16.

"Skousen's reference to 1 Chronicles 29:22 takes us to this: 'They made David's son Solomon king a second time; they anointed him as the Lord's prince.'

"But again, it was God, not the people, who had chosen Solomon. In fact, a more popular choice, David's son Adonijah, had the reins of power yanked from his hands when he tried to usurp that arrangement shortly before David died (1 Chronicles 22:9,10 and 1 Kings, Chapter 1).

"'For the rejection of a leader,' Skousen writes, 'see 2 Chronicles 10:16.' That is where we find 10 tribes of Israel revolting against Solomon's son Rehoboam, setting up an opposing kingdom that the Scriptures unwaveringly portray as wicked. True, God had foretold the rebellion (1 Kings 11:11), but to predict events is not necessarily to bless them, and the ensuing 10-tribe kingdom was eventually swept away.

"Finally, Skousen cites Exodus 19:8 as evidence that the people approved their own laws. This is ludicrous. The law they were accepting there at Sinai was not of their own making, it was of God. No legislature framed it; no constitutional convention enshrined it.

"And while Skousen makes a weak and fleeting attempt to show that Israel had the analogs of a Senate and a House of Representatives, scriptural support for that notion is non-existent. Rather, the governing ethos of ancient Israel is summed up most succinctly at Isaiah 33:22: 'For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us' ('King James' Version).

"Only the most vivid imagination sees in that description of pure theocracy any resemblance to the secular republic envisioned by the Founders.

--"Let the Evidence Speak for Itself

"Nor do Skousen's innumerable citations of secular sources add up to the kind of analysis that carries water with scholarly historians.

"Eduardo Pagan, who is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University, is well familiar with Skousen's work.

"'There is a whole genre of popular writers who write in a pseudo-scholarly manner,' Pagan said. 'They don't quite meet the standards of bona fide scholarly research.'

"Skousen, he said, fits into that category. Regarding Skousen's writings, Pagan said, 'I would characterize it more as a statement of faith than recognized scholarship.'

"He said Skousen and others like him often cite sources more than 50 years old, in effect rejecting the scholarship of American history that has accumulated since the 1950s. Pagan contrasted Skousen with historian Barbara Tuchman, whose analysis of the American Revolution differs radically from Skousen's.

"She saw the Revolution not as a miracle but as the inevitable outcome of British political and military bungling, a thesis painstakingly set forth and copiously annotated in her 1984 classic, 'The March of Folly.'

"Pagan said he would recommend Tuchman's works as examples of true historical scholarship. As for Skousen, he said, 'I would only recommend his work if we were studying reactions to the modern study of history.'

--"Bawdy Ben Franklin's Advice

"Among Skousen's secular citations, one in particular may speak volumes as to his credibility.

"In the chapter touting the virtues of family, Skousen quotes Benjamin Franklin in a letter as saying, 'Marriage is the proper remedy. It is the most natural state of man, and therefore the state in which you are most likely to find solid happiness.'

"What Skousen fails to mention is that the bulk of Franklin's letter is devoted to advice on how to find a mistress. Franklin's recommendation, in the bawdiest and most sexist language imaginable: 'You should prefer old women to young ones.' Among the reasons: 'They are so grateful!'

"It's not that Skousen does not expound some good ideas and dig up a few good quotes along the way. Government of law, not of men, is a good thing. Debt can be a bad thing. Family good, tyranny bad. And so on--worthy ideals, laudable virtues.

"But for Skousen to so abuse Scripture and history in the service of the idea that a secular nation is somehow ordained of God, and thus of itself is almost a thing to be worshiped, is a monstrous and dangerous thing and can itself portend the very tyranny to which he and his disciples profess to be so opposed."

Finally, my own take on the guy:

--From Commie Basher to Rock 'n Roll Trasher: The Legacy of the Late, Latter-Day Loon W. Cleon Skousen

Skousen was, without a doubt, a real piece of work who, despite his schmoozings of top Mormon leadership, ultimately became an official LDS embarrassment

In the wake of Skousen's death, below are some observations assembled from my personal Ezra Taft Benson and Skousen files (combined with research from other sources in my home library) on Skousen's colorful, controversial life and his bizarre mix of apocalyptic religious/political beliefs:

--Cleon Clings On to McKay: Skousen's Inside Track with the Mormon Church Hierarchy

*President David O. McKay's Official Mormon Church Blessing of Skousen's Radical Right-wing Agenda*

In 1962 LDS General Conference, McKay recommended that members of the Church avail themselves of Skousen’s book, "The Naked Communist," declaring:

“I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of [former FBI agent and then-Salt Lake City Police] Chief Skousen’s.”

(David O. McKay, “Preach the Word,” in "Improvement Era," 62 [December 1959], p. 912, as quoted in Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power," p. 82)

In his officially Mormon-blessed book, Skousen warned readers to be on the alert against a worldwide Marxist revolution dedicated to “the total annihilation of all opposition, the downfall of all existing governments, all economies and all societies,” through the creation of “a regimented breed of Pavlovian men whose minds could be triggered into immediate action by signals from their masters.”

To fight the international Red menace, Skousen extolled Brigham Young University as a pre-eminent religious training ground in the “war of ideologies” and urged concerned parents:

“We should not sit back and wait for our boys and girls to be indoctrinated with materialistic dogma and thereby make themselves vulnerable to a Communist conversion when they are approached by the agents of force and fear who come from across the sea.”

(W. Cleon Skousen, "The Naked Communist" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Company, 1958], pp. 2, 377-378)

As much as Skousen (who at one time served on the religion faculty of BYU) regarded the school as a bulwark against Communism, he nonetheless was convinced that Marxists had infiltrated the campus of the Lord's University and established an operating cell.

Writes Quinn of BYU's "Red Scare":

"In February 1969 W. Cleon Skousen, whom Benson had unsuccessuflly tried to transfer from the religion faculty to the deanshiop of the College of Social Sciences, allegedly asked a niece to recruit students as informants [to ferret out suspected Marxists among the sheep]. A student herself, she told a political science major that her uncle 'had discovered there was an active communist cell on [the BYU] campus whose goal it was to destroy this university by 1970.'

"This student testified that she asked him [the student majoring in political science] to inflitrate BYU's Young Democrats. Anti-Birch professor Louis Midgley [whom I had as a professor while at BYU as a poli sci major myself] was among the faculty 'high on the list' of suspects as being communist sympathizers on this campus and her words were that [he, the student] was to "talk with them and try to get them to comnmit themselves.' Cleon Skousen relayed the information 'to his "superior" in Salt Lake City.

However, as Quinn notes:

"Skousen's efforts at campus espionage in 1969 collapsed after a faculty member wrote a memo urging him [Skousen] 'to give the lie to this rumor . . . that you have organized a "spy" ring to check on the alleged pro-Communist sympathies of professors.' The political science professor had confessed. He found no Communist sympathizers at BYU . . . ."

(Quinn, p. 103)

--Skeptical of Skousen's Rabid Radicalism: An Opposing Non-Mormon View

Shining an altogether different light on Skousen’s work, Richard Dudam, author of "Men of the Far Right," wrote:

“Skousen’s book, 'The Naked Communist,' is a Bible of the right-wing movement and is promoted heavily by many of the extremist groups. In it, he asserts that the first Russian sputnik was built with plans stolen from the United States after World War II and that President Batista, the former Cuban dictator, was really a sincere, pro-labor, popular ruler.

"Skousen advises legislators to overthrow Supreme Court restrictions on actions against persons suspected of being communists. He urges businessmen . . . to seek help from the American Security Council [a Chicago-based group of ‘right-wing military men and businessmen’ that operated ‘a private loyalty-security blacklist where employers could check their employees and job applicants for indications of left-wing connections.’]”

--Skousen's Bewildering Background

*Salt Lake City’s Fired Totalitarian Police Chief*

Skousen was quickly removed from his post as Salt Lake’s police chief by then-city mayor J. Bracken Lee, who called him “an incipient Hitler” who “ran the [SLC] police department in exactly the same manner as the Communists in Russia operate their government.”

What reportedly resulted in the mayor's decision to can Skousen was Skousen's raid on an illegal poker club where Lee was present:

"In 1960, newly-elected mayor J. Bracken Lee dismissed Skousen shortly after Skousen raided an illegal poker club where Lee was in attendance. 'National Review' commentator Mark Hemingway characterized the gathering as 'a friendly card game.'

"Skousen supporters protested the abrupt firing by disrupting a city council meeting and planting burning crosses on Lee's lawn. Lee characterized Skousen's strict enforcement of anti-gambling laws as Gestapo-like. . . . 'Time' magazine reported in 1960 that Skousen's 'real offense seemed to be that he had failed to show enough enthusiasm for Lee's determination to slash the police-department budget.' Lee told a friend that Skousen was 'one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government,' and a 'master of half truths.'"

(Dudman, "Men of the Far Right" [New York, New York: Pyramid Books, 1962], pp. 127-28; and "Cleon Skousen," at: )

--Super Supporter of Far-Right Anti-Communist Crusades

Skousen was an active barnstormer and speaker for Fred C. Schwartz’s ”Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.” "Life Magazine" noted that Schwartz “preached doomsday by Communism in 1973 unless every American starts distrusting his neighbor.”

(Dudman, pp. 8, 118)

--Diehard Defender of the John Birch Society Against Alleged International Communist Plotters

Although not an official member of the John Birch Society, Skousen was a die-hard supporter, serving as an active cohort in its “American Opinion Speakers Bureau,” which included among its Far Right allies my uncle and high-ranking Birch Society officer, Reed Benson.

(Benjamin R. Epstein and Arnold Forster, "Report on the John Birch Society 1966," [New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1966], p. 95.

In 1963, Skousen published a pamphlet, “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society,” in which he claimed that the Birch Society had been “dishonestly ridiculed and smeared at the instigation of the international Communist conspiracy.”

He further claimed that the Birch Society was “marked for annihilation because it was becoming highly successful in awakening the American people.”

He also accused Americans who criticized the Bircher Society as “promoting the official Communist party line.”

(Skousen, “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society” [Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Company, 1963], pp. 11-12)

--Skousen's Incendiary Claim That Communists Were Behind Attacks on the Mormon Church's Racist Anti-Black Doctrine, Plus Other Racist Rants

In 1970, amid growing college protests against BYU sports teams for the LDS Church’s anti-Black priesthood policy, Skousen published a tabloid featuring the screaming headline, “The Communist Attack on the Mormons.”

The article asserted that:

" . . . [Professional] Communist-oriented revolutionary groups have been spearheading the wave of protests and violence directed toward Brigham Young University and the Mormon Church,” [employing] “Marxism and Maoism as their ideological base and terror tactics as their method . . .”

Skousen warned that Communists were plotting to manipulate press reports into depicting the Mormon Church as being “rich, priest-ridden, racist, super-authoritarian and conservative to the point of being archaically reactionary.”

He claimed that, in fact, the Mormon Church was one of the Communists’ “prime TARGETS FOR ATTACK” because it is “STRONGLY PRO-AMERICAN” and that the ‘Negro-priesthood issue” was being used as a “SMOKESREEN” to “further their ulterior motives.”

Citing Ezra Taft Benson’s speech, “Civil Rights: Tool of Communist Deception,” he warned that Communist-inspired assaults on the Mormon Church were designed to:

" . . . create resentment and hatred between the races by distorting the religious tenet of the Church regarding the Negro and blowing it up to ridiculous proportions."

(“Special Report by National Research Group,” American Fork, Utah, 84003, March 1970, p. 1, emphasis in original)

Like my grandfather, Skousen also declared that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a tool in a Kremlin-concocted conspiracy to destroy America.

Writes Quinn:

"After [President Ronald] Reagan signed the law for King Day, Cleon Skousen's Freemen Institute observed that this national holiday honored 'a man who courted violence and nightriding and borke the law to acheive his purposes; who found it expedient openly to collaborate with totalitarian Communism; and whose personal life was so revolting that it cannot be discussed.'"

(Quinn, p. 113)

Furthermore, in his poorly- and insultingly-crafted textbook, "The Making of America" (which I eventually ditched after it was given to me by a Skousen supporter), Skousen favorably quoted a 1934 essay which paternalistically referred to the children of African-American slaves using the racially degratory term "pickaninnies," as reported thusly:

". . . Skousen became the center of a minor controversy when state legislators in California approved the official use of another of his books, the 1982 history text, 'The Making of America.'

"Besides bursting with factual errors, Skousen's book characterized African-American children as 'pickaninnies' and described American slave owners as the 'worst victims' of the slavery system.

"Quoting the historian Fred Albert Shannon, 'The Making of America' explained that '[slave] gangs in transit were usually a cheerful lot, though the presence of a number of the more vicious type sometimes made it necessary for them all to go in chains.'"

("Beck Guru Skousen's 'Story of Slavery' Suggests Slave Owners Were 'Worst Victims of the System,'" in "Media Matters for America," 30 September 2009, at:

--Skousen's Founding of the Extremist, Book of Mormon-Based Freeman Institute and His Solicitation of Ezra Taft Benson's Support

Skousen eventually established the rabidly anti-Communist Freeman Institute in Provo, Utah, where my grandfather spoke at the dedication of its headquarters. The group derived its name from the Book of Mormon characters known as “freemen” and initially drew many Mormon Birchers into its ranks. My father, Mark Benson, was the Institute’s “Vice President in Charge of Development.”

(Quinn, pp. 109-111).

--Skousen's Dire Warning to Ezra Taft Benson of an International Scheme for One-World Government, Orchstrated by Wall Street Bankers

In a letter sent to my grandfather (which, despite its formulaic fundraising format, my grandfather curiously marked in red pen with a handwritten notation “Confidential,” even though it was nothing more than a mass mailer sent out to Skousenites), conspiracist Cleon warned:

". . . [The] so-called ‘Council on Foreign Relations’ [has been] “set up . . . to groom ambitious one-world political personalities for leadership in all major departments of the American government from the President on down. . . .

“Their latest triumph was the election of Jimmy Carter. . . .”

Skousen ominously claimed that “members of the Establishment have directed foreign policy from Wall Street in the past.” He told my grandfather that because of President Gerald R. For, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and other “master-planners,” the “foreign-policy establishment of Wall Street bankers and lawyers . . . moved into the very heart of the Establishment and took over.”

Skousen further declared:

“I wonder how people who say there is ‘no such thing as a conspiracy’ will deal with this one?”

He also forewarned Ezra Taft Benson that the one-world planners intended to celebrate the upcoming “200 anniversary of the United States Constitution by scrapping it.”

In an apocalyptic conclusion to his letter, Skousen, under the sub-heading “We Need Millions of Freeman,” told my grandfather:

“I don’t know how all this affects you, but it puts a fire in my veins. I hope that in this coming year we can double or triple the number of Freeman and eventually we can challenge these advocates of world serfdom and drive them out of power. . . . I pray it will happen soon. And we must do everything we can to help make it happen. That’s what you are helping to accomplish, and I am grateful to you for your support.

“See you next month!”

(W. Cleon Skousen, fund-raising letter to “Elder Benson,” January 1977, copy in my possession)

--Skousen's Full-Throated Assault on "Satanic" Rock Music, With Ezra Taft Benson's Full-Hearted Encouragment

In my personal library I discoverd a book that once belonged to my grandfather entitled, "Rock 'N' Reality: Mirrors of Rock Music--Its Relationship to Sex, Drugs, Family and Religion," by Mormon author and BYU graduate E. Lynn Balmforth [Hawkes Publications: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1971].

My grandfather apparently had a special fondness for this thin, paperback volume. He had signed his name in his big, flamboyant style above the title on the front cover, along with noting in the upper right-hand corner of same, "Return to E.T.B." He further autographed the inside of the front cover, along with noting the date--February 18, 1972--that he received it. He very much seemed to want to make sure he never lost it.

The book's "Preface" was authored by Skousen, obviously one of Ezra Taft Benson's closest ideological allies. My grandfather had dog-earred the first page of that section and underlined several of its passages in ballpoint pen.

In the left-hand margin next to the third and fourth paragraphs of the first page, respectively, he wrote the words "on card" and "card," indicating that he wanted these particular passages transferred to his typed card file, which he used as a sermon resource.

My grandfather highlighted, via underlining and/or margin brackets, the following from Skousen's words of warning:

"We've combined youth, music, sex, drugs, and rebellion with treason!'

"This was the way Jerry Rubin, chieftain of the Yippies, described the current assault on America's up-coming generation in his book, DO IT!

"Later, in a speech at Salt Lake City, Utah, he said: 'Rock 'n' Roll is the center of the Revolution!'

"Americans are well aware that there has been a revolution. In morals. In manners. In speech. In crime rates. In riots. In violence. In drugs. In sex. In pornography. In politics. In movies. In education. In music.

"What most of us failed to realize at the moment was how important the music revolution would become. It turned out to be the catalyst for all the rest. It became the prod to promote drugs, the advertiser of sex in the hedonism manner, the mind-conditioner for four-letter gutter speech, and eventually the blatant propaganda funnel for political subversion. It also became the seductive Jezebel for a modern philosophy of no God, of Man as merely a graduate beast of the jungle, of Jesus Christ as a phoney actor--a superstar, of peace and prosperity being possible only under communism, of America as the enemy of the world, of Russia as the hope of the world."

(p. 3)

Turning the page, Skousen continued his tirade against rock music, while my grandfather's marking pen took a momentary break:

"Just as a sampler, here are the lyrics to America's number-one-hit-recording at the moment of this writing. It is by John Lennon and is called, 'Imagine.'

'Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people,
Living for today.

'Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

'Imagine no possessions.
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger--
A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.

'You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will be as one.'"

(p. 4)

Skousen continued his message of clear-and-present danger:

"I observe that many young people have taken from this song only the theme of 'brotherhood' and 'all the world for all the people.'"

At this point, Ezra Taft Benson's marking pen picked up again, as he underlined Skousen's next words:

"However, the professional debunkers who were behind the engineering of this song took colossal satisfaction from the fact that they are succeeding in getting tens of millions of young Americans to mouth the artfully planted brain teasers of 'no heaven,' 'no hell,' 'above us only sky,' 'no countries,' 'nothing to kill or die for,' 'no religion,' 'no possessions,' and 'all the world as one.'"

At this point, my grandfather's marking notes temporarily ceased, as Skousen climatically rolled forth:

"Yes, it's turning out to be quite a revolution."

(p. 5)

Skousen somberly concluded the "Preface" with this gloomy prediction, highlighted once more by Ezra Taft Benson's pen:

"The problem expertly treated in ths book by Mr. Balmforth is of historical significance. This problem may turn out to be a major factor which contributed to the downfall of civilization."

(p. 6)

--The Little People Get to Vote God Out of Power?: Eventually Even Ezra Taft Benson Thought Crazy Cleon Had Gone Too Far

Author Bill McKeever zeroes in on a particularly bizarre element of Skousen's beyond-Kolob nutty religious notions--one that even my grandfather thought was over the edge:

"Skousen’s politics aside, it was his theology that was especially troubling. His book 'The First 2,000 Years,' published in 1953, included a section on God that can only be described as blasphemous.

"Under the subtitle 'The Source of God’s Power,' he [Skousen] wrote:

“'Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligences, and we further learn that Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain Him as such…His glory and power is something which He slowly acquired until today, "all things bow in humble reverence."

"'But since God "acquired" the honor and sustaining influence of ‘all things’ it follows as a corellary (sic) that if He should do anything to violate the confidence or "sense of justice" of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the "power" of God would disintegrate.

"'This is what Mormon and Alma meant when they specifically stated that if God should change or act contrary to truth and justice "He would cease to be God." Our Heavenly Father can do only those things which the intelligences under Him are voluntarily willing to support Him in accomplishing (pp.355-356)."

McKeever adds:

"The idea that God could 'cease to be God' is not at all unique to Skousen. In fact, on page 354 he rightfully notes that the phrase comes directly from the Book of Mormon (Mormon 9:19; Alma 42:13, 25).

McKeever continues:

"Skousen sums up these passages by saying, 'In other words, if eternal principles were violated, God could cease to be God!'

"On page 356 he {Skousen] also cites Doctrine and Covenants 93 to support his position:

“'In the Doctrine and Covenants, "intelligence" or that eternal, self-knowing will within each of us is called by several names. Sometimes it is called the "the light of truth," sometimes ‘the light of Christ,’ and in one place it is identified with the phenomenon of "life."'

("W. Cleon Skousen: The Man Behind Glenn Beck," under "Mormonism Research Ministry," at:

Apparently, my grandfather didn't buy it. In ETB's personal copy of Skousen's "First 2,000 Years" (which he gave to me and which, after he died in my post-Mo days, I sold to Benchmark Books, a used LDS bookstore in Salt Lake City), ETB had highlighted Skousen's arguments for a voted-out-of-office Elohim with skeptical underlinings and question marks.

Bad sign there, Cleon.

--The Mormon Church Finally Puts Official Distance Between Itself and Skousen

Following Mormon president David O. McKay’s death, the LDS Church “found it necessary to counter the now-familiar pattern of Mormon ultra-conservatives to imply church endorsement.”

(Quinn, p. 110)

It's about time.

In a letter “[t]o All Stake Presidents, Bishops, and Branch Presidents in the United States,” the First Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball dictated the following, gingerly-worded order:

“It has come to our attention that in some areas announcements have been made in Church meetings of lectures to be given by those connected with the Freemen Institute. This is to inform you that no announcements should be made in Church meetings of these, or other similar, lectures or events that are not under the sponsorship of the Church.

“This instruction is not intended to express any disapproval of the right of the Freemen Institute and its lecturers to conduct such meetings or of the contents of the lectures. The only purpose is to make certain that neither Church facilities nor Church meetings are used to advertise such events and to avoid any implication that the Church endorses what is said during such lectures.”

(letter from the Office of the First Presidency, Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 February 1979, copy in my possession)

Yes, folks, welcome to W. Cleon Skousen's wacky world of mindless Glenn Beckian Mormonism--one which even the Mormon Church itself found too wacky for comfort. That should tell you something.

Put that in your pipe and underline it. :)
The Mormon Church Lies At The Drop Of A Hat About Its Official Opposition To Drop-Of-Blood Interracial Marriage Mixtures
Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010, at 07:57 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
The Latter-day lily-white lies, they just keep on a-comin'.

With a straight white-and-delightsome face, LDS Church spokesman Mark Tuttle made the palpably false claim to the "Salt Lake Tribune" that "the [Mormon] church has no policy against interracial marriage . . . ."

(Peggy Fletcher Stack, "Mormon and Black," in "Salt Lake Tribune," 6 June 2008, at:

Despite all such predictable and dubious denials, the LDS Church, as a point of fact, officially opposes the race-mixing marriage of (among others) U.S. president Barack Obama’s parents.

Yes, you heard it here (but not first; it's been pointed out before from the Mormon Church's official-position record).

The white-makes-right crowd inhabiting the High Command of the Mormon Church wants you to listen up, President Obama:

Your parents did not do the advisable thing in racially mixing when they married each other and produced you as their offspring--all in direct contravention of the teachings of Mormonism's prophet of God.

Indeed, let the record undeniably demonstrate that according to Spencer W. Kimball in statements he made (which were later officially reaffirmed while he was serving as Mormon Church president in 1978 when its anti-Black policy was amended--statements which to this day stand unrevoked by the Mormon Church), "race-mixing' marriage is officially not considered a good thing by LDS Central.

--From Kimball's Own Mouth: The LDS Church's Highest Leaders Are of the View That Crossing Racial Lines is Bad for the Breed--

Hear ye, the Bigot of the Lord:

“Now, the Brethren feel that it is not the wisest thing to cross racial lines in dating and marrying. There is no condemnation. We have had some of our fine young people who have crossed the lines. We hope they will be very happy, but experience of the brethren through a hundred years has proved to us that marriage is a very difficult thing under any circumstances and the difficulty increases in interrace marriages”

(Spencer W. Kimball, Brigham Young University devotional, 5 January 1965)

“When I said you must teach your people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage. I mean that they should be brothers, to worship together and to work together and to play together; but we must discourage intermarriage, not because it is sin. I would like to make this very emphatic. A couple has not committed sin if an Indian boy and a white girl are married, or vice versa. It isn’t a transgression like the transgressions of which many are guilty. But it is not expedient. Marriage statistics and our general experience convince us that marriage is not easy. It is difficult when all factors are favorable. The divorces increase constantly, even where the spouses have the same general background of race, religion, finances, education, and otherwise.”

(Spencer W. Kimball, “The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,” p. 302)

“The interrace marriage problem is not one of inferiority or superiority. It may be that your son is better educated and may be superior in his culture, and yet it may be on the other hand that she is superior to him. It is a matter of backgrounds. The difficulties and hazards of marriage are greatly increased where backgrounds are different. For a wealthy person to marry a pauper promises difficulties. For an ignoramus to marry one with a doctor’s degree promises difficulties, heartaches, misunderstandings, and broken marriages.

“When one considers marriage, it should be an unselfish thing, but there is not much selflessness when two people of different races plan marriage. They must be thinking selfishly of themselves. They certainly are not considering the problems that will beset each other and that will beset their children.

“If your son thinks he loves this girl, he would not want to inflict upon her loneliness and unhappiness; and if he thinks that his affection for her will solve all her problems, he should do some more mature thinking.

“We are unanimous, all of the Brethren, in feeling and recommending that Indians marry Indians, and Mexicans marry Mexicans; the Chinese marry Chinese and the Japanese marry Japanese; that the Caucasians marry the Caucasians, and the Arabs marry Arabs.”

(Spencer W. Kimball, “The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,” p. 303)

("Interracial Marriage," at:

--The Mormon Church's Official Reaffirmation of Its Anti-Interracial Marriage Position When Its Anti-Black Priesthood Ban Was Formally Announced--

Again, Kimball was the mouthpiece for Mormon maliciousness:

“In 1958 [Kimball] gave an address which touched on [the]subject [of interracial dating]. President Kimball’s statement was reprinted in the 'Church Section' of the 'Deseret News' on June 17, 1978 [on the heels of the Mormon Church allowing Black males to receive the priesthood] . . .

“The 'Church Section' . . . [on that date] gave this information:

“'In an address to seminary and institute teachers at Brigham Young University on June 27, 1958, President Kimball, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, said:

“‘ . . . [T]here is one thing that I must mention, and that is interracial marriages. When I said you must teach your young people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage.’”

(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Changing the Anti-Black Doctrine, Chapter 10, Part 2," from "The Changing World of Mormonism," web edition, at: and

--Utah’s Anti-Interracial Marriage Law--

In the heart of God's Kingdom, Mormon Utah at one time made it a crime to racially intermarry:

“Like most other states, Utah once had a law against interracial marriages. It was passed by the territorial Legislature in 1888 and wasn’t repealed until 1963, said Philip Notarianni, director of the Division of State History.

“‘Utah, both in enacting and repealing it, probably just was going along with the national sentiment,’ he said.

“Race isn’t an issue today for Utah’s predominant LDS faith, church spokesman Scott Trotter said.

“The late President Spencer W. Kimball of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had cautioned members about interracial marriages, but it was also a revelation issued by President Kimball that opened up the LDS priesthood to worthy black males in 1978.”

(Deborah Bulkeley, "Mixed Marriages on Rise: Acceptance is Growing for Interracial Couples," in "Deseret News," 13 April 2007, at:,...)

What a guy ol’ saintly Spence was.

Even when he finally decided to give the priesthood to Blacks, he couldn’t help himself and had to add that didn’t mean White folks should, you know, like, marry them.

--How the Mormon Church Writes Racism Into Its Contemporary Teaching Manuals--

By the way, for those out there who may think that the Mormon Church has moved past Kimball’s negative view of interracial marriage, think again.

To this day, it’s still quoting him. For instance, the officially-authorized Church Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, Lesson 31, entitled “Choosing an Eternal Companion” (p. 127ff), it declares in black and white:

“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question.”

(Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144)

To apologists for the Mormon Church's continuing poisoned attitude toward interracial marriage, it should be noted that because some Mormons dare cross racial lines in choosing to marry one another doesn't obliterate the fact that the Mormon Church officially preaches that such a practice is a bad idea.

To be sure, in the Aaronic priesthood manual cited above (under the heading "Quotation and discussion"), one reads the following explicit and correlated instructions given by the LDS lesson-plan writers to Aaronic priesthood lesson teachers about how to drum into the minds of Mormon young men Kimball's anti-interracial marriage teachings. What follows is the actual teaching recommendation from the LDS Church's official website on how to prepare, outline and present the Aaronic Priesthood lesson plan objective on marrying members of the same race--all in its own, exact words, as bullet-pointed under the capital-lettered heading, "SUGGESTED LESSON DEVELOPMENT."

As you read it, take note of how the Mormon Church young men's priesthood manual sneakily sets up the race bait for the taking by the class's susceptible teenage boys by first listing some generic, reasonable, agreeable-sounding points necessary in the "extremely important" search for in an "eternal companion," then slips in Kimball's prejudiced quote and finally follows with a summation that craftily redefines "racial" as "cultural." (The bigoted Mormon cult is as manipulative and deceptive as they come):

"Chalkboard discussion

"Explain that choosing a companion for eternity is an extremely important decision but is sometimes based on a very narrow understanding of love. A person who responds only to infatuation or romantic love might overlook many important qualities when choosing someone with whom to spend eternity.

"• What characteristics of young women are socially and spiritually appealing to you?

"Write the young men’s answers on the chalkboard, such as–

"1. Is unselfish.

"2. Shows respect for me.

"3. Has initiative.

"4. Is considerate of others.

"5. Shows patience in stressful situations.

"6. Is an active Church member.

"7. Has a testimony of the gospel and obeys the commandments.

"8. Maintains a healthy outlook toward life.

"9. Possesses values and goals similar to mine.

"Ask each young man to select what he thinks are the three most important attributes on the chalkboard. Take a vote to determine which areas the young men consider most important. Discuss why they voted the way they did."


"Quotation and discussion

"Compare the results of the vote with the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball. Have a young man read it.

“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” ('Marriage and Divorce,' in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).


"• Why is it so important for a couple to be worthy members of the Church? Ensure that the following points are discussed:

"1. Exaltation cannot be attained without celestial marriage.

"2. Religious values are powerful, and conflicting values can cause continual stress.

"3. President Kimball quoted a survey showing that 'only about one out of seven non-member spouses would be converted and baptized into the Church' ('Marriage and Divorce,' p. 152).

"4. When one spouse is not converted to the gospel, the children are caught between the differing values of the parents.

"• Why is it important for a couple to have a similar economic, educational, and cultural background?"

(“Choosing an Eternal Companion,” Lesson #31, in "Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3," "Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1995, All rights, Printed in the United States of America, English approval: 1/92," pp. 127ff, at: and "Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3," Table of Contents and Publication Notes, at:

There you have it, people: the deliberate, covert, soft-sell war of race hate today being waged against eternal marriage-destroying "conflicting values" supposedly fatally harbored by individuals of different skin colors--brought to you by the White Supremacist Mormon Church.

Grab your children and run.

Ever searching but never coming to an admission of its own ingrained, uninspiring bigotry, the Mormon Church has nonetheless over time, slowly and reluctantly learned its own lesson--at least to a limited degree. It won't openly condemn or excommunicate individual Mormons who in today's world defy the LDS Church archaic admonition to avoid such a "race-mixing" practice. That would be socially uncool and very bad for LDS PR.

The Mormon Church still, however, teaches its anti-interracial doctrine to its members in the privacy of LDS wardhouse instructional classes.

Just thought President Obama should know what the Mormon God still thinks of the whole "race-mixing" thing.
From The Mormon Mailbag: Yes, You Lost Your Home In The Fire But It Was Such An Awe-Inspiring Symbol Of God's Power
Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010, at 08:17 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
I recently received an email subject-lined, "Oquirrh Mountain Temple with Herriman Fire." The body of the email read as follows:

"'Oquirrh Mountain, Utah Temple, with Fire Visible in the Background.'

"For those of you who had not heard, there was a fire southwest of Salt Lake. This picture shows the Temple with the fire in the background.

"The hymn, 'The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning' is the first thing that comes to mind. It's a pretty spectacular picture!"

One wonders if those who lost their homes and possessions due to the negligence of the Utah National Guard (whose reckless. uninformed, poorly-timed, bad-judgment call that ordered machine-gun training drills in windy, tinder-dry conditions sparked the inferno in the first place) would regard images of their property being consumed by flames as soaringly symbolic of the fiery "Spirit of God" in action:

"The National Guard joined forces with firefighters again Tuesday to battle a fast-moving, wind-driven blaze that the guard ignited during a machine-gun training exercise.

"Utah Army Guard Gen. Brian Tarbet said Monday he was 'deeply sorry' about what he called a 'systematic failure' at Camp Williams, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.

"The commander accepted responsibility for the wildfire sparked Sunday that destroyed three houses, damaged a fourth and forced the evacuation of more than 1,600 homes. Officials said Tuesday that 450 homes remained evacuated.

"Tarbet said no one checked to see that the National Weather Service had posted a 'red flag' high-wind warning before the machine gun exercise was permitted to continue in tinder-dry conditions in the foothills of the Oquirrh mountains. He also said guard commanders waited two hours to call outside fire agencies for help.

"Guard Lt. Col. Hank McIntire told reporters Tuesday that those responsible would be held accountable. 'If we need to take internal action, we certainly will,' he said. . . .

"It is the latest example of military training activities sparking large fires at Camp Williams and other facilities. Camp Williams, founded in 1926, covers 44 square miles, or nearly twice the size of Manhattan.

"Utah National Guard officials said they can usually contain any flames, but local leaders questioned the decision to fire weapons at all.

"'It's a regular occurrence with any type of training--small flare-ups we deal with,' McIntire said Monday.

"The flames were ignited about 12:40 p.m. Sunday by practice rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun. Officials said a fire crew with a fire truck thought they contained the fire until winds whipped up about 1:30 p.m. Unified fire officials were called at 3:22 p.m. 'Our fire crews were on standby, responded and corralled the fire. They got it under control, but the winds came up, and the fire spread and got beyond what we could handle ourselves,' McIntire said.

"Overnight winds of more than 40 mph fanned the fire across more than 6 square miles.

"When the drill got under way, the National Guard said the fire hazard was moderate. There was little wind, temperatures were below 75 degrees and humidity was 13 percent, typical for Utah's dry climate.

"Fires caused by artillery shells or other weapons at military installations are not uncommon. In May 2007, a flare dropped from an F-16 on a training flight sparked a fire that burned 17,000 acres in New Jersey. Artillery practice sparked a huge wildfire in July 2009 outside Marseille, France.

"At Camp Williams, a fire touched off by artillery burned 500 acres in September 2006 and forced the evacuation of about 50 homes. None were destroyed. A more recent fire burned 300 acres in July.

"Residents and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon questioned the National Guard's decision to hold live-fire exercises in dry conditions.

"Hutson called the practice flare-up a 'perfect storm' that kicked up violently with winds of 40 mph to 50 mph."

("Firefighters in Utah Race to Beat Flames, Wind: National Guard Commander Says He's 'Deeply Sorry' for Igniting Wildfire during Machine-Gun Training Exercise," by Jennifer Dobner, "Associated Press," 21 September 2010, as reported by "CBS News," at:

Keep the faith, brothers and sisters. Seeing that fire in all its godly glory backlighting the Lord's temple was such a hymn-humming experience.
Mormonism's Air Farce One: My Encounter With The President Flying First Class
Tuesday, Dec 7, 2010, at 07:39 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
In another thread, concern was raised about Mormon General Authorities flying "first clases on [the] widow's mite."

("GA's fly first class on widow's mite," posted by "cricket," Recovery from Mormonism bulletin board, 4 December 2010, 08:56 a.m.)

I saw that travel operation in action with my grandfather and then-Mormon Church president Ezra Taft Benson who on 5 January 1987 (at the invitation of newly-elected and eventually-disgraced-impeached-and-convicted Arizona Mormon governor Evan Mecham), was flown down from Salt Lake City (as I recall, on Delta Airlines) to attend the inauguration ceremony of Brother Ev.

In an ironic footnote (as reported in Mecham's news-section obit), one of the counts brought against Mecham by the Arizona House of Representatives--and ultimately upheld in his state Senate impeachment trial--was that Mecham had illegally diverted public monies from his state inaugural fund for personal use in an attempt to prop up his faltering used-car business:

"He [Mecham] became the first U.S. governor impeached and removed from office in 59 years when, in April 1988, the state Senate convicted him of obstructing justice and misusing $80,000 in state funds allegedly funneled to his Pontiac dealership to keep it afloat."

("Evan Mecham; Ariz. Governor was Impeached over Funds," by Bob Christie, "Associated Press," 23 February 2008, reprinted at:

Mecham (who was booted out from his governor's seat for a litany of high crimes and misdemeanors and therefore was someone you could trust about as far as you could throw his cheap, ill-fitting toupe'), later personally and emphatically denied to me that he had even invited my grandfather to attend his inauguration in the first place.

Say what? That assertion was directly contradicted by my grandfather's then-office chief of staff, Gary Gillespie, who told me in an astounded voice that Mecham's welcome-mat invitation to ETB was in the files of Office of the First Presidency.

Moreover, Mecham himself was quoted as saying he was glad ETB showed up:

"Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Mormon Church, was greeted by Mecham, who said the Mormon leader's presence 'was a special treat for me.'"

Not only that, my grandfather had once (in a long-distance phone conversation with me that he initiated regarding Mecham's mounting political problems) referred to Mecham as "our man."

In addition, at a book signing out at the Arizona State Fair one Sunday morning some years back, I ran into an outraged, put-upon, hot-headed Mecham in a rundown agriculture exhibit hall where he was manning a sparse line of true believer autograph seekers--and where, after a few minutes of poking a few inconvenient facts at him, he loudly proclaimed to me that my grandfather regarded him (meaning Mecham himself) as "one of the greatest men he had ever known."


In another humorous development, after my grandfather died in May 1994, I was bequeathed ETB's personal copy of the inauguration program that my grandfather had been provided by Mecham's office, as well as the red, white and blue inaugural I.D. lapel ribbon that ETB wore as an distinguished guest at the event.

Bizarrely, the foot-in-mouth, incompetent and hopelessly deluded Mecham also directly asserted to me in a late-night phone call prior to his removal from office that ETB had personally given him a priesthood blessing, promising Mecham that he would prevail against his "political enemies."

Truth be told, Mecham was forcibly extracted from the governor's chair after having been in office only 15 months and was later confined to the dementia unit of the Arizona State Veteran Home (suffering from a form of the affliction similar to Alzheimer's disease), before dying in February 2008, a beaten, humiliated and broken man.

("Mecham Takes Oath," by Michael Murphy, "The Phoenix Gazette," 5 January 1987, pp. A1ff; "Mecham Plans Special Session on Budget Woes: New Chief Orders War on Drugs, Porn; Vows Assistance for Poor," by Don Harris and Sam Stanton, in "The Arizona Republic," 6 January 1987, pp. A1ff; "Ex-Arizona Governor Evan Mecham Shows Symptoms of Dementia," by "Associated Press." 20 October 2004; and "Horizon" program hosted by Ted Simons, online video, KAET Channel 8, Public Broadcasting System, Arizona State Univeristy, at:

As a final kicker, ETB's chief of staff Gillespie further informed me that the supposed priesthood blessing given to Mecham under the hands of my grandfather actually never took place.

Anyway, given my familial ties to the Mormon Church president, I didn't feel particularly comfortable attending Mecham's inauguration as a member of the press since I thought there was way too much of a Mormon overplay and overlay to the whole thing. (Also at the event was LDS right-wing fanatic Cleon Skousen, along with a contingent of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

So, I waited until the inauguration ceremony was over, then made my way, uncredentialed, to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport to see my grandfather off before he returned to Salt Lake. This was back in the day before security concerns restricted access by the public to airline gates, so I went directly to the departure point, identified myself to counter staff and was allowed onboard for a few minutes before the plane took off.

My grandfather was sitting up front and alone in first class. He had taken off his suit coat off in preparation for the flight, so was attired in his long-sleeved white shirt and tie.

He appeared relaxed but a bit tired. He smiled when he spotted me and I took an empty seat next to him, where we chatted not so much about about Mecham but, rather, about my grandfather's health. He had recently had a pacemaker implanted. (Yes, contrary to some of his critics, he did have a heart).

I asked how he was feeling and he replied that he was doing fine. Out of curiosity, I inquired how and where the pacemaker was wired and he told me that it was implanted near his collarbone. (By that, I took it to mean the battery pack). So, given that he wasn't wearing his suit coat, I asked him if I could feel the bump where it was clavically-located. He agreed, so I did. Hey, it's not that often that you get to press down on an prophet's operational pacemaker.

The plane was ready to depart at that point, so I said good-bye and off he went, first-class and all powered up.

I wonder if they served him his favorite beverage: buttermilk.
Surprise, Surprise: Cro-Magnon Cleon (With The Support Of Paleolithic Utah Mormon Lawmakers) Wanted To Imprison Gays For Being Criminally "Mentally Ill"
Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010, at 08:55 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
"Cleon Skousen, while Chief of Police in Salt Lake City, was dismayed that some city judges were sending offending homosexuals to psychiatric treatment, rather than charging them with a felony and sending them to the state pen for up to 20 years as state law mandated.

"To sidestep the judges, Skousen got the city fathers to adopt as code the 1952 state provision which ordered sex offenders to the Utah State Hospital. In this way, Skousen said, 'a conviction would enable authorities to commit offenders for life if medical examinations showed them mentally ill.' Previously, persons charged with indecent exposure or lewdness were tried in police court in Salt Lake City.

"Records show that homosexuals were being sent to the state mental institution in Utah County through much of the 1950s."

Ah, yes, Utah County--home of backwater BYU:

"By the 1960s, aversion therapy or electro-shock therapy was promoted as means to cure homosexuality. As early as 1935 the American Psychological Association was told of a doctor successfully treating homosexuality by using electro-shock therapy 'delivered at intensities considerably higher than those usually employed on human subjects.' Dr. Frankenstein meets Dr. Freud.

"Electro-shock therapy was readily adopted in Utah to cure homosexuals, especially at LDS Church-owned college campuses. During the ’60s one man stood out as the premier proponent of this therapy: Dr. Robert D. Card, a Salt Lake psychologist. Dr. Card practiced the highly controversial bio-feedback therapy to cure homosexuality for nearly 20 years, explaining it simply as a 'pairing of noxious stimulus with the stimulus trying to be reduced.' Dr. Card was judges’ and bishops’ go-to guy to fix [gays], and he found no want of clients desperate to be heterosexual to fit in with the state’s dominant culture. . . .

"He worked out of offices in Salt Lake City and on the BYU campus with gay Mormons. His BYU clients were treated by having electrodes attached to their genitals and then shown homosexual pornography. If they got [sexually aroused] they were zapped. . . .

"In 1990, Boyd K. Packer wrote this regarding the [Mormon] church’s stance on homosexuality: 'We are sometimes told that leaders in the Church do not really understand these problems. Perhaps we don’t. There are many "whys" for which we just do not have simple answers.'"

But never fear, Mormon-wired homophobes. Cleon had the simple answers you're looking for.

You can thank him for helping to blaze the trail back to the Stone Age.

(Ben Williams, "I Am Shocked! Shocked, I Tell You!," in from "QSaltLake – Utah's Gay and Lesbian News and Entertainment Magazine," 16 September 2010, at:
Buckets Of Blessings: Another Soap-A-Dope Command From The Mormon God, As Hometeaching Is Now Changed To Church Cleaning
Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010, at 07:46 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Buckets of Blessings: Another Soap-a-Dope Command from the Mormon God, as Hometeaching Is Now Changed to Church Cleaning (no spoof)

I had dinner this evening with a lapsed Mormom friend of mine (who lurks on RfM but as of yet hasn't posted, although he says he wants to once he figures out how to use his new computer).

He informed me that his hometeacher recently (meaning the end of November) left a voice message that the ward hometeaching program was being changed in ways to, well, clean up its act.

That change, the hometeacher relayed in the message, was that on occasion the hometeacher would invite all his assigned familes to go to the local wardhouse, where they would meet up, then clean it up.

My friend said this sparkling new wrinkle in the hometeaching program would mean that instead of 12 monthly visits to the homes of an assigned family, twice a year or so the hometeacher would dutifully assemble at the wardhouse with the sheep placed under his care for an edifying experience in spiritual sudsing.

My friend said that his hometeacher pitched the new progam by describing it as an opportunity for "service."

My friend was flabbergasted by the news and, just to make sure, contacted members of his extended family in the area to see if, in fact, this was the Mormon Church's new approach to hometeaching. He said he was informed that, indeed, this wardhouse worker bee Janitors-for-Jesus initiative was being implemented as a periodic replacement during the calendar year for the traditional hometeaching visit to family homes.

I asked my friend what he thought of this development. With an irritated look on his face and in a slightly raised voice (we were at a restaurant), he replied that his personal idea of service did not include cleaning the property of "a multi-billion dollar corporation."

He added that his wife's reaction was likewise less than enthusiastic. She noted that this meant bringing along their kids--which meant that they would simply run around out of control. (His wife works in the Young Woman's program, so couldn't be described as a slouch).

I asked my friend how he responded to his hometeacher's invitation to join him and the other assigned families in an inspiring adventure of group wardhouse cleaning.

He said he simply ignored this inner-cleansing call to service. He also said that he didn't expect any resistance from his hometeacher, describing the HT as a laidback kind of guy who, when he made his visits to their home, only knocks, doesn't come in and sometimes brings along goodies.

There you have it--another prophetic initiative to protect Morg profitability.

Come to church, brothers and sisters, and scrub the bathrooms.

Hometeaching: Isn't it about slime?
Mormonism's God The Father Has No Physical Body: The Joseph Smith-Prepared / Approved And Now-Abandoned "Fifth Lecture On Faith" Blows Apart Bogus Smith's "First Vision" Claims
Wednesday, Dec 22, 2010, at 08:45 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
What evidence is there that Joseph Smith actually did not believe or teach that he had seen God the Father and Jesus Christ with separate physical bodies in what Smith calls his "First Vision" experience?

Answer: Plenty.

What does this evidence do the foundational claims of the Mormon Church with regard to the nature of God?

Answer: It totally contradicts and destroys the fundamental underpinnings of official Mormon claims regarding the supposed physically tangible body of God the Father--thus destroying the central elements of Smith's "First Vision."

Below are the devastating details:

Joseph Smith declared that he personally met (face-to-face, no less) with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in a grove of trees in 1820. Based on that alleged encounter, he declared to the world that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ both had separate and distinct bodies of flesh and bones.

Making no mistake about that fact of Mormon faith is the official website of the LDS Church--wherein reference is made to Lesson 3 of the "Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual," under the heading “I Had Seen a Vision" (p.11).

There it explicitly states that “[m]any truths were revealed in the First Vision," including that "[t]he Father and the Son are real, separate beings with glorified bodies of flesh and bones."

("The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," at: , [enter "I Had Seen a Vision" in the search bar, then click on "Lesson 3" for its online text under the heading, "Lesson 3: 'I Had Seen a Vision,' Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Class Member Study Guide, What are some of the truths we can learn from the First Vision?"]; see also, “'I Had Seen a Vision,' Lesson 3 – Joseph Smith–History 1:1-26; 'Our Heritage,' pgs. 1-4, at:

Moreover (again on the Mormon Church's own official website under the general heading "The Scriptures"), LDS canonized doctrinal teaching regarding the physical bodies of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ are described as found in the current and duly-noted "Official Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"--namely, the “Doctrine and Covenants"--Section 130, verse 22:

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us."

("The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Section 130," at:

Yet, a photographic copy of page 53 of the 1835 edition of the then-equally official version of the Mormon Church's "Doctrine and Covenants" states in no uncertain terms that God the Father does NOT have a body of flesh and bones but, rather, is a personage of spirit.

Without any ambiguity whatsoever, this officially Joseph Smith-sanctioned version of the LDS "Doctrine and Covenants" declares the following about the entities of "the Father and the Son," comparing and contrasting their individual--and in this case, different--forms:

"The Father being a PERSONAGE OF SPIRIT, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fullness; The Son who was in the bosom of the Father, A PERSONAGE OF TABERNACLE, MADE OR FASHIONED LIKE UNTO MAN, or being in the form or likeness of man, and in his image; . . ." (emphasis added).

(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "The Godhead," Chapter 7, in "The Changing World of Mormonism," at: ; for a complete version of the 'Fifth Lecture,' see "Lecture Fifth of Faith, Section V," at:

What has subsequently happened to this "Fifth Lecture on Faith" (along with all the other lectures in that official doctrinal series), which originally appeared in virtually all the early editions of the the Mormon Church's canonized "Doctrine and Covenants"?

The answer can be found (among many places) in Jerald and Sandra Tanner's book, "The Changing World of Mormonism":

" . . [I]n 1921 they [the 'Lectures on Faith'] were completely removed and have not appeared in subsequent editions."

Why did this happen? Explain the Tanners:

"John William Fitzgerald, who wrote his [Masters] thesis at BYU, asked Joseph Fielding Smith why they were removed from the 'Doctrine and Covenants.' One of the reasons given was that they were not complete as to their teachings regarding the Godhead.

"Actually, these lectures were considered complete with regard to their teachings concerning the Godhead at the time they were given.

"On page 58 of the 1835 edition of the 'Doctrine and Covenants' the following question and answer appear: 'Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation? A. IT DOES.'" (emphasis added)

So, what, then, is the logical explanation for the officially doctrinal "Lectures on Faith" being subsequently and in wholesale fashion excised from the present, officially canonized scriptures of the Mormon Church?

The reason is as plain as the non-fleshly nose on the original-but-now-surgerized Mormon Father God's face:

"The truth of the matter is that they [the 'Lectures on Faith'] contradict what is presently taught by [Mormon] Church leaders with regard to this subject.

"To avoid 'confusion and contention' over the Godhead the Mormon leaders slyly removed the 'Lectures on Faith' from the 'Doctrine and Covenants.'

"This was done in spite of the fact that Joseph Smith himself had considered them important enough to include. Since these lectures were about 70 pages long, this amounted to a major deletion.

"On page 345 of his thesis, 'A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants,' Mr. Fitzgerald supplies this information:

"'The 'Lectures on Faith' were voted on unanimously by the conference assembled August 17, 1835, to be included in the forthcoming book of doctrine and covenants. The writer could find no documentary evidence that they were voted on by a General Conference of the Church to be omitted in the 1921 and all subsequent editions of the 'Doctrine [and] Covenants.'"

(Tanner and Tanner, "The Godhead," Chapter 7, in "The Changing World of Mormonism," at:

The Tanners amplify on the makeover of Mormonism's Father God in their book, "Mormonism: Shadow or Reality":

"In 1835 the 'Lectures on Faith,’ which were originally delivered before a class of the Elders, in Kirtland, Ohio, were printed in the 'Doctrine and Covenants.' In these lectures it was definitely stated that God the Father was a personage of spirit.

"In the 'Fifth Lecture' we find this statement about the Godhead:

"'. . . [T]he Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fulness, the Son . . . a personage of tabernacle . . .' ('Doctrine and Covenants,’ 1835 Edition, p. 53) . . .

"President Joseph Fielding Smith admits that Joseph Smith helped prepare these lectures:

"'Now the Prophet did know something about these "Lectures on Faith," because he helped to prepare them, and he helped also to revise these lectures before they were published . . . ' ('Doctrines of Salvation,' Vol. 3, p. 195).

"These 'Lectures on Faith' were printed in all of the early editions of the 'Doctrine and Covenants,' but they have been removed from recent editions.

"John William Fitzgerald, in his thesis, 'A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants,' states as follows:

"'The reasons for the omission of these 'Lectures' from the 'Doctrine and Covenants' beginning in the 1921 edition and all the subsequent editions as given to the writer by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith were as follows:

"'(a) They were not received as revelations by the prophet Joseph Smith.

"'(b) They are instructions relative to the general subject of faith. They are explanations of this principle but not doctrine.

"'(c) They are not complete as to their teachings regarding the Godhead. More complete instructions on the point of doctrine are given in section 130 of the 1876 and all subsequent editions of the 'Doctrine and Covenants.'

"'(d) It was thought by Elder James E. Talmage, chairman, and other members of the committee who were responsible for their omission that to avoid confusion and contention on this vital point of belief, it would be better not to have them bound in the same volume as the commandments or revelations which make up the 'Doctrine and Covenants' ('A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants,' M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, p. 344).

"The reasons Joseph Fielding Smith gave John William Fitzgerald as to why the 'Lectures on Faith' were removed from the 'Doctrine and Covenants' are very interesting.

"Reason (a), that they 'were not received as revelations,' could hardly be considered at all. If every section that is not a revelation was removed from the 'Doctrine and Covenants,' it would be a much shorter book. There are a least nine, if not more, sections from the 'Doctrine and Covenants' that are not revelations; they are Sections 102, 113, 121, 123, 128, 131, 134 and 135.

"Reason (b), that they were not doctrine does not agree with the statement on page 256 of the 1835 edition of the 'Doctrine and Covenants.' This statement reads as follows: '. . . [T]he lectures were judiciously arranged and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine . . . .'

"Joseph Smith himself signed a statement which was printed in the preface to the 1835 edition of the 'Doctrine and Covenants.' In this statement we read: 'The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of 'Lectures' as delivered before a theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important DOCTRINE OF SALVATION, we have arranged them into the following work.' (emphasis added)

"Reason (c), 'that they are not complete as to their teachings regarding the Godhead' is getting much closer to the truth than the first two reasons. A more correct way of wording this, however, might be, 'they contradict what is now taught concerning the Godhead in the Mormon Church.' . . .

"Reason (d), that to avoid 'confusion and contention on this vital point of belief, it would be better not to have them bound in the same volume,' is probably the true reason they were left out. Certainly it would cause confusion and contention in the Mormon Church if one of the elders started to teach that God is a personage of spirit . . . , as the 'Lectures on Faith' taught."

(Tanner and Tanner, "Lectures on Faith," in "Mormonism--Shadow or Reality?," pp. 166-67, at:

Such blatant, fundamental and deceptive revision by the LDS Church of its official doctrine on the very essence of the Mormon God Elohim has not gone unnoticed by non-LDS scholars.

James E. Walker, in his article "Re-imagining Elohim: Rethinking the Mormon Doctrine of God for the 21st Century," observes:

"Today the Mormon Church maintains the Father has a body of flesh and bones. Consequently, these 'Lectures on Faith' have been removed from recent editions of the 'Doctrine and Covenants.'"

Walker explains their removal as part of the Mormon Church's phased-in re-making of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in ways that "could be described as experimental, temporary or transitional."

Writes Walker:

"In 1834-35, less than five years after the publication of the 'Book of Mormon,' the 'Lectures on Faith' were delivered to the School of the Elders in Kirtland, Ohio.

"The lectures, probably written by Joseph Smith, were printed as the first part of the 'Doctrine and Covenants' in every edition of that LDS scripture from the first edition in 1835 to 1921, when they were removed.

"The fifth lecture teaches that Christ is a distinct and separate Person from the Father. . . .

"Also, the lecture makes a sharp distinction between the Elohim and Jesus concerning physical natures. The Father is described as a 'personage of Spirit,' in contrast with the Son who is said to be a 'personage of tabernacle, made or fashioned like unto man.'

"The obvious clash between this view of the Godhead and later statements by Joseph Smith himself has been offered as a possible explanation for the 'Lectures on Faith' eventual removal from post 1921 editions of the 'Doctrine and Covenants.' ['Encyclopedia of Mormonism' author and LDS apologist] Larry E. Dahi writes:

"'Many have pointed to the content of 'Lecture 5' concerning the Godhead, suggesting that it contains incomplete, if not erroneous doctrine--doctrine which was corrected or clarified in 1843 by Joseph Smith (DandC 130:22-23).

"'The argument is that the 'Lectures' were removed to avoid these inconsistencies. Some have claimed that the removal of the 'Lectures' from the 'Doctrine and Covenants' constitutes decanonization of material once affirmed by the Church as scripture.'

" . . . [T]he fact that they [the 'Lectures on Faith'] were printed with the 'Doctrine and Covenants' for over 80 years coupled with their subsequent removal and relative obscurity raises interesting questions.

"Did the 1921 change in the 'Doctrine and Covenants' reflect an earlier re-imagining of Elohim?

"A strong case can be made for this hypothesis."

(James K. Walker, President, Watchman Fellowship Lecture, "Re-imagining Elohim: Re-thinking the Mormon Doctrine of God for the 21st Century," delivered at CESNUR 2004 International Converence, "Religious Movements, Conflict and Democracy: International Perspectives," Baylor University, Waco, Texas, 17-20 June 2004, at:

Indeed, the "Fifth Lecture on Faith" was written before a finalized, LDS Church-approved version of Joseph Smith's "First Vision" was even available to the early Mormon Church membership at large.

As one critic points out:

"In 1835 the 'Doctrine and Covenants' was printed at Kirtland, Ohio, and its preface declared that it contained 'the leading items of religion which we have professed to believe.' Included in the book were the 'Lectures on Faith,' a series of seven lectures which had been prepared for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in 1834-35.

"It is interesting to note that, in demonstrating the doctrine that the Godhead consists of two separate personages, no mention was made of Joseph Smith having seen them, nor was any reference made to the first vision in any part of the publication. . . .

"The 'Lectures on Faith' were written in 1834 as part of Joseph Smith's curriculum for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio, and they were included in the 1835 edition of the 'Doctrine and Covenants.'

"So, why is Joseph Smith saying [in the Fifth Lecture] that God is a spirit, but Jesus Christ has a body? If Smith had seen the First Vision 12-15 years earlier, he would have said they both have bodies, right?

"The reason is because the final version of the 'First Vision' story had not been written yet. It also corroborates the fact that the membership hadn't heard the story either."

("Early Mormons Didn't Know About the First Vision," by "Deconstructor," posts on Recovery from Mormonism bulletin board, under "NO EVIDENCE That Early Church Members Knew About the First Vision," 27 January 2004, and "More Problems with Your Apologetics," 27 January 2004, at:

Former Mormon Bill Kempton, in his article, "Dear Bishop--I'm Leaving the Fold," explains how the "Fifth Lecture on Faith" completely undermines Joseph Smith's "First Vision" story:

" . . . [A]ll 'Doctrine and Covenants' before 1921 contained the doctrine of the 'Fifth Lecture on Faith' that was bound in scripture as doctrine in 1835. The 'Fifth Lecture' basically stated that the Father is only a spirit, that only Jesus has a body, and the Holy Ghost is not a person but the same Mind (or essence) of the Father and the Son; and the Father and the Son are not two gods but one Deity, which is very similar to the Catholic Trinity . . . . How could Joseph Smith bind this doctrine in scripture if he really saw two flesh and bone persons in 1820? . . .

"I decided to research this matter further . . .

"The earliest LDS members held in their hands the 'Doctrine and Covenants,' which contained the doctrine of the 'Fifth Lecture' until 1921. LDS members believed that only Jesus had a body of flesh and bone, and the Holy Ghost was not a person!

"That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I had found the murder weapon with finger prints on it, a video of the crime taking place, and a taped confession. It was the final nail that was hammered into the coffin of my Mormon testimony.

"I learned that the foundation of Mormonism, the First Vision, was unfounded. This led me to realize that like a house on a bad foundation, the LDS church was founded on fiction, suspicious hearsay, and supported not by facts but subjective emotionalism."

(Bill Kempton, "Dear Bishop--I'm Leaving the Fold," posted 6 August 2006 (updated 2009), at:

As Kempton asks in an earlier article (no longer Internet-provided) entitled, "The First Vision: Fact or Fiction?":

"Is the early Mormon's testimony of the 'Doctrine and Covenants' (that stated that the Father is only a spirit . . .) any less valid than the Mormon testimony today regarding the true nature of the Godhead?

"If the first Mormons believed in the 'Fifth Lecture on Faith,' that was doctrine in scripture for decades, what guarantee does the Mormon today have that what they believe to be absolutely true doctrine won’t be changed tomorrow?"

The answers to those inquiries are quite simple and historically undeniable:

Reworked, reinvented Mormon Church "history" is, at its corrupted and bedrock core, totally invalid.
"If Thine Enemy Offends Thee, Rub Him Out:" The International Battle Cry Of Religion Down Through The Ages
Monday, Jan 31, 2011, at 09:31 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
As author and newspaper editor James A. Haught writes:

"A great irony . . . is that religion--supposedly a source of kindness and human concern--has taken the lead as the foremost contributing factor to hatred, war, and terrorism. With Soviet Communism gone and the Cold War no longer spurring conflicts, the world spotlight has shifted to local ethnic strife, most which involves fractious faiths.

"'Religious tribalism' is a wellspring of trouble. American sociologist Nathan Glazer propounded that ethnicity is the most powerful force in human events. Ethnic conflicts grow from differences in race, language, economics, locale, politics, culture--and religion. Anything that divides people can spawn hostility, and religion is one of the strongest dividers. British anthropologist Desmond Morris, author of 'The Naked Ape,' wrote in his 1977 book 'Manwatching,' that religion is a 'cultural isolating mechanism' because it 'demands social separation from those who worship in a different manner. It creates sects and breeds sectarian violence' ('Manwatching,: A Field Guide to Human Behavior [New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1977, p. 149).

"The faith factor is visible in much bloodshed [throughout modern times in various parts of the globe] . . . . .

"The United States itself has escaped major conflict, but it suffers minor wounds of religious tribalism. Various fundamentalist groups are subcultures bonded by their beliefs, some retreating from society while others wage public struggles, picket video stores, or mob abortion clinics. [T]he most extreme U.S. tribalism involves cults living in half-secret compounds, occasionally erupting in murder.

"Religion can produce horrors as well as ethnic warfare. Iran's 'imams' (holy men) . . . increase[d] the bounty offered in their 'fatwa' (religious edict) demanding the assassination of a 'blaspheming' author. An Ohio cultist made human sacrifices of a family of five. Iran's Shi'ites resumed hanging Baha'i believers who refuse[d] to convert. Leaders of a Florida religious sect murdered fourteen defectors and others.

"Rising fundamentalism . . . has also produced tyranny, as seen in Pakistan's 1991 decree that anyone who commit[ted] 'blasphemy' by insulting the Prophet Muhammad w[ould] be hanged. The country's new 'sharia' code, based on the Koran, require[d] women to be stoned to death for extramarital sex, and other offenders to have their hands or feet chopped off.

"Actress Shirley MacLaine, addressing a group of newspaper editors in Baltimore . . . , protested 'the blood-drenched conflicts occurring in the name of God.'

"''It is becoming quite clear that religion is at the heart of so many civil wars and international struggles. People seem willing to kill, maim, torture, and die for a religious or spiritual belief which moves them to believe that their source of the divine is the only source. . . .

"'Consider: In the name of God, a fatwa against Salman Rushdie. In the name of God, the bombing of the World Trade Center. In the name of God, the siege at Waco, Texas. In the name of God, Hindus and Muslims kill each other in India. In the name of God, bloody warfare between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. In the name of God, Shi'ites and Sunnis are at each other's throats in Iraq and Iran, as are Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. In the name of God, a doctor is murdered because he believed in a woman's right to choose. In the name of God, what is going on?'

"What's going on is a phenomenon the world avoids discussing, namely, the evil side of religion. Despite the universal belief that religion makes people 'good,' it's obvious that it makes some people commit heinous acts. That phenomenon is ancient. Although religious killing has [lately] surged to the foreground of public consciousness . . ., it has been recurring for centuries in one form or another. Here are just a few historical highlights:

"In the eleventh century, Christian crusaders marched off to attack Muslims occupying the Holy Land, but before leaving, they massacred 'the infidel among us'--Jews living in Germany. After the crusaders took Jerusalem, they slaughtered the whole population and gave thanks to God.

"Some Christian groups in Europe, such as the Cathari and the Waldensians, were declared heretics, and 'internal crusades' were launched against them. (The Cathari, also called Albigenses because of their concentration around Albi, France, were ascetic Christians who believed that the physical world must be shunned as evil. They defied orders from Rome to conform, and were exterminated by more than a century of crusades and persecution. The Waldensians, or Waldenses, followed Peter Waldo, who taught that true believers must live in poverty and preach to everyone. They ignored mandates from Rome that only priests may preach. Thousands of Waldensians were killed for the beliefs, but some descendants survive today). When a crusader army captured the French city of Beziers in 1208, commanders asked the papal legate how to separate the town's condemned Cathari from its faithful residents. The pope's emissary replied: 'Kill them all; God will know his own.' It was done.

"'Jihads' (holy wars) spread as far as Spain and India. No sooner had the conquered peoples been converted than rival Muslim sects began declaring 'jihads' against each other. Shi'ites, Kharijis, Azariqis, Wahhabis, Mahdists, and others waged gory rebellions against the Sunni majority (Shi'ite Muslims broke away from the Sunni mainstream in the seventh century in a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad after his death. They backed Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali, who was rejected as successor, or caliph, and led wars against the majority. Kharijis, or Khawarijis, were embittered followers of Ali who turned against him and eventually murdered him. Azariqis were a fanatic splinter of the Kharijis, who declared that most other Muslims were sinners and must be killed. Wahhabis were followers of Abd al Wahhab, a puritanical eighteenth-century holy man who preached that Islam had become worldly and sinful. Wahhabis waged two centuries of holy wars to 'cleanse' Islam, and finally created the modern nationof Saudi Arabia. Mahdists were followers of Muhammad Ahmad Ibn Assayyid, a nineteenth-century Nile Valley mystic who proclaimed himself the 'Mahdi' (Divinely Guided One) sent to purify Islam. He raised an army and conquered much of Egypt and Sudan before British troops with Maxim guns destroyed the Mahdist forces).

"Jews of Europe lived in peril. Christian councils forced them to wear badges of shame and reside in ghettos. Massacres happened again and again--usually after rumors spread that Jews were sacrificing Christian children in blood rituals, or that Jews were stealing host wafers from Christian churches and driving nails through them to crucify Jesus again.

"The internal crusades against heretics evolved into the Inquisition, which tortured Christians into admitting unorthodoxy, then burned them for it. Later, the Inquisition focused its attention on witchcraft. Hundreds of thousands of women were tortured into confessing that they flew through the sky, changed into animals, copulated with Satan, and the like. Most were executed.

"After the Reformation erupted in 1517, Europe was wracked by dozens of Catholic-Protestant wars. In France, eight wars were fought against the Protestant Huguenots, many of whom were killed in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre during a truce in 1572. The last bloodbath of the Reformation was the Thirty Years War in the 1600s, which killed half the population of Germany. While Catholics and Protestants were waging a century of combat against each other, both sides executed Anabaptists for the crime of double baptism. (Anabaptists held that traditional infant baptism was pointless, since babies couldn't comprehend it, so they rebaptized adult converts. But the other faiths deemed this practice a sacrilege deserving death).

"Pope Pius V typified the religious horror of that era. As Grand Inquisitor he sent troops to kill two thousand Waldensian Protestants in southern Italy. After becoming pope, he sent troops to fight Huguenot Protestants in France, telling the commander to kill all prisoners. He also launched the final crusade against Islam, sending a Christian naval armada to slaughter Muslims in the Battle of Lepanto (off the coast of Greece) in 1571. He also revived the Inquisition to torture suspected heretics. After his death, Pius V was canonized as a saint.

"During the same era, elsewhere in the world, Aztecs were staging human sacrifices by the thousands in Central America, and India's Thugs, religious stranglers, sacrificed up to 20,000 victims each year for the goddess Kali before British rulers eradicated the clandestine cult in the mid-1800s.

"In colonial America, New England's Puritans decreed that Quakers must be put to death as false worshipers. Some who ventured into Massachusetts in the mid-1600s were flogged, tortured, and hanged.

"Another American religious horror was Protestant-Catholic strife that killed twenty Philadelphians in 1844. It erupted because a Catholic bishop wanted Catholic children in public schools to read from Catholic scriptures, not the King James version of the Bible required by education authorities. Thousands of angry Protestants stormed a Catholic neighborhood, burning homes and churches. Martial law was declared. Troops with cannons were sent to guard Catholic churches. Then, amazingly, Protestants took cannons from sailing ships at the Philadelphia docks and fought an artillery duel with the soldiers.

"After the Baha'i religion sprouted in Iran in the 1850s, the Shi'ite Muslim majority called the Baha'is infidels, and inflicted murderous persecution upon them, killing thousands.

"The worst religious calamity in history was the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1850s, which killed an estimated twenty million people. A holy man declared himself to be Jesus' younger brother and said God, his father, instructed him to 'destroy demons' and make China a theocracy. His Association of God-Worshipers mustered an army of a million followers (partly by promising them shares of the land and loot they seized). They cut a terrible swath. Eventually the rebellion was crushed by opposing armies, including one commanded by British general Charles Gordon, who was dubbed 'Chinese' Gordon for his service in the Orient. (Poor Gordon was cursed by religion. After leaving China, he led an Egyptian army against Muslims waging a holy war in the Nile Valley, and was killed when the fanatics overran Khartoum).

"Christian pogroms against Jews continued into the twentieth century. Europe's nine hundred years of religious slander against Jews branded them as a despised people and set the stage for the Nazi Holocaust.

"Learned people always have known that faith has a potential for horror. Mark Twain wrote: 'Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal who has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal who loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven.' Concurring with this view, author W. Somerset Maugham observed in 'A Writer's Notebook': 'What mean and cruel things men do for the love of God.' Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 'Young India': 'The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover or religion or equally noble motives.' Years before, Frederick the Great wrote in a 1787 letter to Voltaire: 'We know the crimes that fanaticism in religion has caused.' Thomas Jefferson said in 1816: 'On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished form moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.' And playwright Eugene Ionesco told 'Esquire' magazine in 1974: 'In the name of religion, one tortures, persecutes, builds pyres.'

"In 1890, when Wisconsin believers demanded worship in public schools, the state Supreme Court refused, declaring in its decision in 'Weiss v. District Board' (1890): 'There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter into our civil affairs, and our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed.'

"Clearly, in both past history and current headlines, any observer can see tragedies rooted, to one degree or another, in faith. Of course, not all ethnic conflicts have a religious aspect. . . . However, religion is a divisive factor in so many other human hatreds that some religious figures are sickened by it. [Former] Senator John Danforth, a Republican from Missouri and an Episcopal priest, called for establishment of an international religious Security Council to intercede in such conflicts. Writing in the 'Washington Post' . . . he complained:

''In most of not all of the world's trouble spots, religious extremism is at the heart of the problem. In Israel, Muslims throw rocks at Jews and Jews shoot back at Muslims. In the chaos of Lebanon, religious factions are so numerous it is difficult to keep track of them. In Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant Christians bomb each other as they have for decades. Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan face off against each other, offering the prospect of nuclear weapons if necessary to prove their points. . . .

"'All this killing is done with the absolute certainty that God wants it so. If thine enemy offends thee, rub him out. Indeed, it is believed to to lose one's life in God's cause is to die a martyr's death and win a reward in heaven.'

"The senator's call was echoed . . . at the Parliament of World Religions . . . . More than two hundred delegates from all major faiths adopted a declaration titled 'Toward a Global Ethic,' written by a team headed by Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Kung. It decried: 'Time and again we see leaders and members of religions incite aggression, fanaticism, hate, and xenophobia--even inspire and legitimize violent and bloody conflicts. . . . We are filled with disgust. . . . We condemn aggression and hatred in the name of religion.'

"Rabbi Herbert Schaalman, an organizer of the parliament, said, 'It's so obvious that it hurts--that so many of the things that are wrong in the world are actually due to religious conflicts.' The parliament's chairman, Presbyterian David Ramage, added that, 'Two-thirds of the major conflicts in the world today have religious overtones' [1993]. He expressed hope that the new Global Ethic declaration will cause churches to act in joint opposition 'whenever anyone kills in the name of religion in the future.'

"However, some groups fell into disputes before the Chicago assembly ended, and prospects for unified church action dimmed. At the end, the paradox of religious hate and murder seemed as insoluble as ever. . . .

"[It is amazing,] the [international] frequency with which religion causes people to kill each other. It is a nearly universal pattern, undercutting the common assumption that religion makes people kind and tolerant."

(James A. Haught, "Holy Hatred: Religious Conflicts of the '90s," from the Introduction: "The New World Disorder" [Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1995], pp.12-22)
From Insider Email Admissions And Personal Phone Call Conversations: Why The Marriotts Got Into The Porn Business And Why The Mormon Church Ignored It
Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
RfM posters have made frequent note of the recent decision by the Mormon-founded Marriott Hotel empire to discontinue in-room broadcasts of adult porn movies in its new hotels--a feature that up to this point has been a traditional Marriott on-demand adult entertainment service offered to its paying customers.

Of course, it was money--not morality--which drove that decision; and, of course, it was money--not morality--that drove the Mormon Church to look the other way all these years in not condemning the Marriott-monied enterprise for being, well, a powerhouse porn peddler.

Let's follow the evidentiary trail, based not only on media reports but on some telling private phone-call admissions and email observations from those in the know.

--I Know Our Profit Numbers Are True: Why Marriott International Is Only Now Dumping Its Long Tradition of In-Room TV Porn Movies--

As "USA Today" recently reported:

"Marriott International, one of the nation's leading hotel groups, says it's pulling access to adult movies from new hotel rooms it will open in the next several years.

"Marriott says its decision coincides with a pending shift to new in-room entertainment technology for its new hotels. Traditional video systems, which included access to adult content displayed in the menu selection, will be replaced by Internet-based video-on-demand systems.

"But the decision also comes after years of discussing whether the availability of lucrative adult films in guest rooms is appropriate and whether safeguards exist to prevent children from seeing it.

[Editor's Note: "Years"? Why years? Don't the Marriotts listen to General Conference and abide by the dictates dispensed therefrom?]

Back to business:

"Hotels have seen revenue from providing pay-per-view movies in rooms shrink. Business travelers have been increasingly checking into hotels with their own entertainment, whether Netflix DVDs, iPod Touch, laptop or Slingbox.

"'Changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content,' Marriott says.

"According to Colliers PKF Hospitality Research, hotels now collect about 39% fewer dollars from all pay-per-view movie rentals than they did a decade ago. The average hotel collects about $175 per available room per year, down from $288 in 2000, says Robert Mandelbaum, the firm's research director. He estimates that industry-wide, movie-rental revenue in 2009 was roughly $380 million.

"'It's becoming a declining source of revenue,' he said of pay-per-view movies.

"As movies of all kinds become less of a money-maker for hotels, more hotels may make similar decisions, says Joe McInerney, CEO of industry group American Hotel and Lodging Association.

"'It is a hotel's prerogative, as well as a business decision, regarding what services it provides to its guests, including those striving to enhance their family-friendly image,' he says.

"Omni, with 50 hotels, is the biggest chain that doesn't offer adult entertainment on TVs. Omni went porn-free in 1999, says spokeswoman Caryn Kboudi. 'The ownership decided that it was not a way that we wanted to make money,' she says."

("Marriott Says No to Adult Movies in New Hotels," by Barbara DeLollis, in "USA Today," 21 January 2011, at:

--Marriott International Seeking a "Family-Friendly" Image?: Others Say Otherwise--

Marriott competitor, Omni Hotels, says its own corporate decision to dump in-room porn services was driven not by profit motive but by family values, while noting that Marriott's decision was centered in devotion to the dollar.

As the "USA Today" reporter who provided the above news account has subsequently revealed:

"Now that Marriott is starting to phase out porn in its new hotels, 'Hotel Check-In' checked in with Omni Hotels to see what being porn-free has meant to the Dallas-based luxury hotel chain.

"Omni's ownership, led by Texas billionaire Robert Rowling, in 1999 decided to eliminate all adult entertainment offerings from Omni's in-room TV systems back in the days when adult entertainment was still a bigger money maker.

"It was a moral decision, said Omni spokesperson Caryn Kboudi. It had nothing to do with changing in-room-entertainment platforms or declining movie-rental sales related to an uptick in the number of travelers who carry their own entertainment--the primary factors that drove Marriott's decision."

("Omni Hotels: Porn-Free TVs Helped Us Win New Customers," by Barbara DeLollis, in "USA Today," posted at "Hotel Check-In with Barbara DeLollis," 26 January 2011, at:

--Personal Email Observations of a Marriott Executive Insider: It's the Money--

Further evidence of how money drove the Marriott empire to generously provide porn to it customers in the first place is found in a personal email privately authored by a senior Marriott executive, to which I was given access (via a source wishing to remain anonymous and who personally knows the executive).

This career Marriott executive described what they regarded as the founding family's rather peculiar views on, and application of, morality. Below are this Marriott insider's view of the Marriott Corporation decision to place pornography in its hotels (along with, ironically enough, copies of the Book of Mormon). This long-time Marriott executive concludes that the Marriott family embrace of hotel room porn was, in fact, based strictly on business considerations:

"You know this [providing of pornography] has been an issue with various interest groups with Marriott hotels since I can remember . . . . I know the idea is to make what some people consider unethical, morally reprehensible or plain unhealthy, more difficult to obtain so behavior will change. From pornography to smoking to guns.

"The Marriotts are an interesting family. [There was] an event at their home several years ago and they did not serve alcohol or caffeine. I think they are personally strong in their faith and beliefs but are business people nevertheless, and make business decisions. . . .

"Now if they ma[k]e [their guests] go to the front desk for [their] porn, I [will] not enjoy my business trips as much. :)"

--Confession from a Powerful Utah Mormon Politician: Why the Mormon Church Chose to Look the Other Way on Marriott Hotel Porn--

When it comes to the Mormon Marriott's selective application of family values, the above revelations are really nothing new--especially to the Mormon Church that itself decided to put its profits over its prophets.

Back in the 1980s, I had a telling conversation with a prominent Utah Mormon politician who let slip in a rather bizarre phone call to me his "just-between-you-and-me" attitude toward the Marriott Hotels open promotion of pornography to their overnight guests in (of all places) Zion.

That politician was former Utah Attorney General David L. Wilkinson, son of the former, now-deceased president of Brigham Young University, Ernest L. Wilkinson.

The younger Wilkinson (who I did not know and had never heard from before), telephoned me out of the blue one day to congratulate me on an editorial cartoon that I had done criticizing cable pornography (drawn back in my straight-laced, conservative Mormon days). The cartoon had been published in Salt Lake City's Mormon-owned newspaper, the "Deseret News," prompting Wilkinson's phone call of praise and support--one that was ultimately driven by his own political motivations.

During our conversation, Wilkinson went to great lengths to enthusiastically inform me of his plans for purging Utah of the scourge of cable TV porn. At the time, Wilkinson was running for election and concentrating lots of campaign time on his sacred vow to clean up the state's cable TV industry for, and in behalf of, Utah's families.

As Utah's Mormon-owned attorney general, Wilkinson eventually became embroiled in some highly-publicized anti-cable porn lawsuits (including "Community Television, Inc. of Utah v. Wilkinson" and "Home Box Office, Inc. v. Wilkinson").

With Wilkinson's support, the Utah State Legislature also passed the Cable Television Programming Decency Act. Such high-handed, moralistic efforts to dictate, regulate and formulate cable TV content against the wishes of adult consumers were eventually struck down by the federal courts for, among other reasons, being overly broad, as well as for unconstitutionally targeting viewing audiences in homes and other environments in which there happened to be no children.

During Wilkinson's unsolicited phone call to me, he also tried to elicit my support in his cable-cleansing efforts.

Wilkinson's missionary zeal to baptize the airwaves for the remission of their sins of transmission raised a question in my mind.

I wanted to know his position regarding the availability of printed pornography in Utah.

So I asked him what he planned to do in combating those "soft porn" magazines which the Mormon-owned Marriott Hotel chain made available to paying patrons in its gift shops.

Wilkinson's response was swift and blunt.

He said he would not be going after the Marriotts for porn-pedaling "because they give so much money to the Church."

--De-Porning a Politician: Is the Recent Move by Marriott to Dump Its In-Room TV Porn Service Done as a Political Service to Former Marriott Board Member (and Likely 2012 President Candidate) Mitt Romney?--

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has proposed (as also reported here on RfM) that there may be a Marriott-Mitt, hand-in-glove connection in the hotel chain's decision to phase out its in-room TV adult entertainment offering:

"Presumptive GOP candidate for President in 2012 Mitt Romney has recently stepped down from the Board of Directors of Marriott Hotels. Perhaps coincidentally, the hotel chain recently announced plans to stop providing on-demand adult entertainment for their guests.

"Some have suggested the decision to forgo millions in revenue was not borne from the new digital age in which we now live, but rather because it's more politically expedient for Mr. Romney. Though the story has already been around for awhile, the specific way that Rachel Maddow reported this story was so unique and cheeky, it is worth another look.

"[Here is the] [t]ranscript of Maddow's commentary . . . :

"'The last time Mitt Romney ran for President, conservatives attacked him for not pushing Marriott to get rid of that darned porn. Since he was on their board and everything. Here, for example, in the 'Deseret News' an editorial entitled "The Nasty Taint for Porn." If you're running for president you don't want editorials about your nasty taint, let alone your nasty porn taint"

"'That criticism of Mr. Romney happened in 2007, the last time he ran for president. This year, problem solved, unless you want to want porn in your Marriott hotel room, in which case, your problems have just begun, and you can thank the Republican primary process for your taintlessness.'

"Maddow brings up an interesting point, though to be fair, one's 'taint' is a very hard thing to define; existing somewhere between the spheres of reality and the mysterious, but very real, space where mudslinging happens. Simply put, a taint is very hard to see, at least without holding a mirror up to oneself.

"One wonders just how bad Romney's taint truly is, or if Maddow and her producers are just unfairly obsessed with it. If Romney has any taint worth discussing, it's likely to be divisive; seen by his conservative base as a glorious taint, not nasty at all as Maddow suggests.

"Either way, this is probably not the last we've heard of Romney's taint, which some may see as a shocker. . . ."

("Nasty Taint? Rachel Maddow Probes Mitt Romney Connection To On-Demand Porn," by Colby Hall, in "Mediaite," transcript and MSNBC video from the "Rachel Maddow Show," 28 January 2011, at:

--The Devil's in the Details: Is Marriott International Actually Totally Getting Out of the Porn-Providing Business?

Not so fast. Marriott apparently intends to provide--via its new and future hotels--advanced/other-means technological access necessary (at a price, of course) to patrons who are in the mood for on-demand, in-room adult entertainment.

Read carefully:

"Marriott says its decision [to pull access to in-room adult movies] coincides with a pending shift to new in-room entertainment technology for its new hotels. Traditional video systems, which included access to adult content displayed in the menu selection, **will be replaced by Internet-based video-on-demand systems.**"

("Marriott Says No to Adult Movies in New Hotels," by Barbara DeLollis, in "USA Today," 21 January 2011, at: , **emphasis added)

For all the speculation about Mitt, Morality and the Mormon Marriotts, I am inclined to suggest it's much simpler than that: Follow the Money.

After all:

Mormon politicians have privately admitted that, for the Mormon Church, that's what it is.

Marriott executive insiders have privately acknowledged that's what it is.

Marriott competitors have publicly claimed that's what it is.

And now Marriott International has openly confessed that's what it is.

In the name of the Almighty Buck, that's what it is. Amen.
Why The Book Of Abraham Isn't Central To Mormonism: LDS Apostles Prove Thru Their Own Insecurities That It Is Not Pivotal To Lds Doctrine Since They Couldn't Convincingly Defend It
Monday, Feb 21, 2011, at 09:29 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
In a now-closed thread, RfM poster "Fetal Deity" offers a brutal assessment of the Book of Abraham under the subject line, "'The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham,' claims a top Mormon apologist," with a link provided to those claims:

"Fetal Deity" comments bluntly:

"This statement is utterly indefensible: the Mormon church is a 'house of cards.' If the church were to admit that the Book of Abraham had 'fallen,' it would be an admission that Joseph Smith were a false prophet--and there goes the entire Restoration! (How can he NOT see the problem with his assertion?)

"Dr. John Gee (Egyptologist at Brigham Young University) also stated:

"'The Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Christ.'

"To illustrate, he said that of all the scriptural citations in general conference since 1942, the Book of Abraham has been cited less than 1 percent of the time."

"What Dr. Gee apparently failed to mention is that the Book of Abraham contains exactly TWELVE pages of text, while the entire standard works of the Mormon church total just under 2,500 pages of text.

"So, the Book of Abraham comprises less than ONE-HALF of one percent of the total page count in Mormon scripture; it would appear then, that General Authorities since 1942 have given as much or MORE weight to the Book of Abraham as to the rest of the Mormon canon.

"And here are a couple of BOLDLY CONFIDENT (sarcasm alert) assertions made by Gee:

"'I think [the Book of Abraham] can be defended.'


"'[T]hough God knows everything,' we do not and cannot . . . .'

"So this is the state of Mormon apologetics? I guess you kind of have to feel sorry for the guy! But, really, WOW!--just WOW!

"Also, see 'The Priceless fraud of the Book of Abraham,' by JoD3:360 at:,113465,113465#msg-113465 "

("'The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham,' claims a top Mormon apologist," posted byFetal Deity, "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 17 February 2011, 5:46 p.m., original emphasis, at:,116579,116579#msg-116579)

To be sure, the Book of Abraham cannot be defended.

Indeed, even two of the Mormon Church's apostles proved that point privately in their futile and fruitless attempts to do so.

Here's the skinny on the shaky foundation of the Book of Abraham, as evidenced in the less-than-stout-hearted defense of it lamely put up by some of LDS Inc.'s leading lights:

Date: 9 September 1993 and 24 September 1993

Location: Room #303, personal office of LDS Apostle Neal A. Maxwell, located in Church Administration Building, Salt Lake City, Utah

Event: Private meetings I had with LDS Apostles Maxwell and Dallin H. Oaks to discuss matters of LDS doctrine, practice and history.

Subject (one of many): Historicity of the Book of Abraham

--Posing the Basic Question: Why Doesn't the Book of Abraham Square with Authentic Translations of Ancient Egyptian?--

During my closed-door conversations with Oaks and Maxwell, I asked them why the Mormon Church had not officially addressed problems with Joseph Smith's inability to correctly translate the Book of Abraham.

In that regard, I noted that the translatable Egyptian hieroglyphics actually contained in the papyri (the orignal parchments proving to be common funerary texts from an era dating later than the time of Abraham) were completely unrelated to the "translated" storyline produced by Smith.

**Oaks's Response:

Oaks answered that this was a "substantive issue" which raised important and fundamental questions--as opposed, he said, to the Kinderhook Plates and Solomon Spalding. He then went on to admit that he did not know how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Abraham.

He did say, however, that he was familiar with the "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" that Smith was constructing back in the day.

I responded by going into brief detail about how Smith or his scribes would copy an Egyptian hieroglyph from the parchment into a left-hand column then apparently from that single hieroglyph, produce a whole series of words and paragraphs.

I noted that the words and dictionary which Smith attached to the facsimiles had absolutely no relationship with the content of the papyri--as indicated and translated by such noted and reputable Egyptologists as Klaus Bauer of the University of Chicago and others.

Oaks replied:

"Well, there are some things I just don't understand and just don't know." But, he said, he was willing to put such matters on the shelf "until further knowledge comes." Oaks said the jury was out on the Book of Abraham and that we should "wait and see."

**Maxwell's Response:

Unlike Oaks, Maxwell appeared more willing to attempt a defense of the Book of Abraham based on direct appeals to Mormon scripture.

Maxwell observed, for instance, that according to Doctrine and Covenants, Section 7, the Book of Abraham was translated by Joseph Smith in "catalystic fashion."

Smith, Maxwell claimed, had, in vision, seen parchments from the writings of John the Revelator.

Maxwell said that, likewise, Smith may have also had revealed to him Egyptian parchment which he did not touch, physically hold or from which he did not directly translate.

In other words, Maxwell said, Smith may have been "accessing" an ancient parchment that was not actually with him.

Instead, Maxwell proposed, Smith may have had revealed to him "in some kind of vision" the source from which he then translated the Book of Abraham.

(Oaks chimed in, adding that Maxwell's explanation seemed persuasive).

--Confession That the Evidence Against the Book of Abraham Is Stronger Than the Evidence For It--

Oaks admitted that "the scholars" seemed to have the evidence "in their favor" against the Book of Abraham, but that he himself had a "personal witness" that the Book of Abraham was true.

Oaks concluded by saying that he did not let evidence "weighted against Joseph Smith on this" persuade him that the Book of Abraham was not true.

--Trying to Make the Connection Between the Fictional Mormon Abraham and the Actual Ancient Egyptians--

Although Maxwell was no more convincing than Oaks, he still put up more of a fight for the supposed authenticy of the Book of Abraham.

He told me that two "pseudo texts" have revealed a relationship between Abraham and the Egyptians, knowledge of which was "unavailable to scholars in Joseph Smith's time."

While acknowledging that Joseph Smith's former scribe, Warren Parrish, and Mormon hymn composer, W. W. Phelps (of "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning" fame), were at one point about ready to leave the LDS Church, he said "don't pounce on Joseph Smith."

Maxwell said, in fact, that the work of Parrish and Phelps on the Book of Abraham manuscript helped bolster the argument that the Egyptian funerary texts were not the actual parchments used by Joseph Smith in his translation of the Book of Abraham--or that Joseph Smith was even the author of the four extant manuscripts of the Book of Abraham.

--So Lacking in Confidence in the Book of Abraham, An Apostle Falls Back on FARMS for Help--

Maxwell demonstrated clear dependence on the BYU-based FARMS apologetics arm of the Mormon Church to provide him with supposedly persuasive research on the Book of Abraham.

In revealing how much he actually depended on FARMS, Maxwell told me that one of the purposes of FARMS was to prevent the General Authorities from being outflanked by the Church's critics.

In a clear example of Maxwell's go-to reliance on lower-level apologists to make their case for him, he also told me that the Egyptian funerary texts used by Joseph Smith to concoct a supposed "translation" of the Book of Abraham were not the actual parchments used by Smith in his translation--or that Joseph Smith was even the author of the four extant manuscripts of the Book of Abraham.

This is the FARMS fall-back position--and Maxwell's cheat sheet proved it.

In support of that position, Maxwell handed me a FARMS review, written by Michael D. Rhodes, of Charles M. Larson's book, " . . . By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri" (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Institute for Religious Research, 1992, p. 240 pp., illustrated).

On closer examination of the paper on which Rhodes review was photocopied, I easily determined that the review had indeed not only originated with FARMS but had been transmitted to Maxwell by FARMS in Maxwell's attempt to privately defend to me the Book of Abraham.

Maxwell's "research" document was printed on fax paper bearing the acronym "F.A.R.M.S.," along with the "FAX" date of "09/09/93." It also bore a dispatch time of "1:55" and a BYU-area phone number of "378 3724."

Based on this faxed reference sheet, it was clear that Maxwell had solicited the assistance of FARMS in preparing for our discussions.

Maxwell had highlighted in yellow the following excerpt from Rhodes' article:

"First of all, none of these manuscripts of the book of Abraham is in Joseph Smith's handwriting. They are mostly in the handwriting of William W. Phelps, with a few short sections written by Warren Parrish. Nowhere in the documents is Joseph Smith designated as the author.

"Moreover, the Egyptian characters in the left-hand margin were clearly written in after the English text had been written. These cannot be the working papers of a translation process. Instead, Phelps and Parrish seemed to have copied down the text of the book of Abraham and were then attempting to correlate that translation with some of the scrolls in the Church's possession.

"These documents are most likely that preliminary stage of investigation and exploration the Lord prescribed in DandC 9:8 to 'study it out in your mind.' The Lord expects us to first do all we can to understand something (and in the process discover our own limitations) before we seek for direct revelation from him.

"This is what Phelps and Parrish were apparently doing, although their efforts were short-lived and unsuccessful. In fact these same men shortly after this began to turn away from the Prophet Joseph and fell into apostasy. If they had been parties to some fraudulent process of producing the book of Abraham, they would surely have denounced Joseph Smith for this, but they never did."

--Despite the Glaring Lack of Genuine Evidence to Support the Authenticity of the Book of Abraham, Maxwell Blusters About Not Giving Ground--

In the end, Maxwell--responding to criticism of the Book of Abraham's authenticity--tried the tough-talk approach, telling me:

"We will not twist or oscillate every time we come across new evidence. The Church is not a jerkwater organization."

Um, Neal, the Mormon Church is a jerkwater organization.


No wonder the Book of Abraham is not the center of Mormonism.

That center isn't holding.
"Life Is Not Eternal" So Act Now: California Attorney General Is Latest Heavyweight To Support Resumption Of Gay Marriages, Further Eroding Basis For Lds Church's Anti-Gay Stance
Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011, at 08:06 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
"SAN FRANCISCO – The state's top attorney has dealt another setback for seekers of gay marriage bans with her request to allow the unions to resume immediately in California, the latest in a string of about-faces siding with same-sex couples.

"State Attorney General Kamala Harris' request Tuesday to an appeals court considering the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban comes a week after the Obama administration said it would no longer defend a federal law that prohibits the U.S. from recognizing gay unions.

"Together, the two actions represent a blow to opponents of gay marriage, as well as to Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that banned the unions in California in 2008.

"In a letter to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Harris joined the lawyers for two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco in seeking the resumption of gay marriages in California. The unions were put on hold while Proposition 8's sponsors appeal a trial judge's ruling striking down the ban.

"Harris said those sponsors were unlikely to prevail in their appeal and that keeping the ban in effect was a fruitless violation of gay Californians' civil rights.

"'The public interest weighs heavily against the government sanctioning such discrimination by permitting it to continue,' she wrote.

"Harris also said the case for allowing gay marriages was bolstered by the Obama administration's announcement last week that it would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"While not directly relevant to Proposition 8, the administration's new position 'substantially diminished' the likelihood the measure's sponsors will be successful in their effort to get the lower court ruling overturned, she said.

"Andy Pugno, legal counsel for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot and campaigned for its passage, disputed the attorney general's contention that the prospects for a successful appeal were any more dim now.

"'It's a highly politicized case, and this is just a reminder that we need the initiative process exactly because state officials sometimes refuse to do their job,' Pugno said. 'The fact that President Obama has made a carefully calculated political decision in no way changes the law and the role of the court to decide Prop. 8's validity.'

"Harris . . . succeeded Gov. Jerry Brown as attorney general in January. Brown had refused to defend Proposition 8 in his previous role, as did then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Last year, both men asked the 9th Circuit to let gay couples marry during the appeals process.

"The push by Harris to quickly get same-sex marriage reinstated in California could further enflame conservative activists angered by the Obama administration's new stance.

"The president of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based advocacy group that champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, said Tuesday it suspected the government was colluding with lawyers in the Proposition 8 case.

The group's president, Tony Perkins, pointed out that lawyers for the two California couples asked the 9th Circuit to lift its stay just a few hours after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the administration's new position on the federal act.

"Perkins asked the government to provide records of any contact the Justice Department might have had with the attorneys. 'Even the appearance of collusion between the Department of Justice and litigants is highly damaging to the rule of law in America,' Perkins wrote.

"The couples' lawyers have said the timing was coincidental.

Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is funding the challenge to Proposition 8, said Harris' endorsement demonstrates that gay people are being hurt while the ban remains in effect.

"'LIFE IS NOT ETERNAL--SOMETIMES IT IS TRAGICALLY SHORT--AND COURTS SHOULD NOT ACT OTHERWISE,' Griffin said [emphasis added]. 'Allowing the U.S. District Court's landmark decision to enter into effect will not harm anyone, but will alleviate the suffering of countless families and their children.'

"Same-sex marriages were legal in California before Proposition 8 passed in November 2008. The initiative supported by 52 percent of voters amended the state Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

"Supporters of gay marriage are growing impatient with the slow pace of court proceedings. The California Supreme Court reiterated Tuesday that it would take at least until the end of the year to consider a legal question asked by the federal court as it tries to resolve the appeal.

"Because the governor and attorney general refused to defend the law on appeal, its sponsors have asked the 9th Circuit to allow them to do so.

"But the federal court panel has said it needs the state court's guidance on whether ballot proposition sponsors can defend their measures in court if state officials will not. The state court has said it plans to hear oral arguments on the issue in September."

("Calif. AG Latest to Seek Resumption of Gay Unions," by Lisa Leff, Associated Press, 2 March 2011, at:


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